Chumlee–born Austin Russell–hasn’t died, but rumors have continued to persist saying that the “Pawn Stars” member died via heart attack..
The death hoax appears to have originated on the fake news site eBuzzd, which claims Russell died. Other fake news websites reposted the article and fake Twitter accounts, including one claiming to belong to news anchor Katie Couric, were saying he died.
The fake article was then retweeted on Wednesday and Thursday, going viral. According to Google Trends’ metrics, hundreds of thousands of people have searched to see if the “Pawn Stars” mainstay died.
He told the Las Vegas Review-Journal on Thursday: “I just lost 101 pounds and have never been healthier in my life. Thanks for the concern.”
However, since the rumor went viral, Russell has even tweeted messages, saying that he’s not dead.
“OMG, the @chumlee_ death hoax nearly gave ME a heart attack. That’s my boo #PawnStars,” Russell retweeted at 11 a.m. ET on Friday. “May we live long, Rich forever,” he also wrote.
He even uploaded an Instagram photo of himself at a pawn shop, smiling, an indicator that he alive and well.
Rick Harrison, another star on “Pawn Stars,” issued several tweets, saying Russell is fine.
“Breaking news: CHUMLEE IS ALIVE & WELL! He is actually filming today but we all really appreciate everyone’s concern!” he wrote.
It added: “.@chumlee_ is ALIVE & WELL! He is 101 lbs down & in the best health of his life! Thanks for your concern! He is filming today at GS Pawn.”
But despite a number of media outlets saying he’s still alive, people on Friday were still tweeting and sharing messages like “RIP Chumlee.”
Hoax-debunking website Snopes noted that there was a death hoax about Russell’s death last year, saying he died of a “marijuana overdose.”
“The rumor was nothing more than a hoax, a bit of fiction promulgated in a 14 May 2013 article published on the Internet Chronicle web site, one which followed up that site’s equally fictitious report from two months earlier which claimed Chumlee had been arrested for possession of seven pounds of marijuana. (The putative cause of death given in Chumlee’s phony Internet Chronicle obituary, a ‘marijuana overdose,’ is virtually a medical impossibility.),” Snopes says.