“RIP Neil Armstrong” and similar messages began to trend on Tuesday, going viral–even though the former astronaut died a year ago this month–and a number of people were apparently unaware that he didn’t recently pass away.
Armstrong–the first man to walk on the Moon–died on Aug. 25, 2012 due to complications due to heart surgery, said NASA at the time. He was 82 years old.
On Twitter and on Facebook, “RIP Neil Armstrong” messages popped up over the past two days. The messages were especially well-shared on Twitter. Even though his anniversary isn’t strictly news, people apparently thought that he died recently–not a year ago.
“Neil Armstrong, First Man on the Moon, is Dead,” wrote one.
Another wrote that “all our heroes are leaving. RIP Neil Armstrong.”
But others weren’t so quick to retweet the old news.
“Pretty sad to hear that Neil Armstrong died again. Really thought he’d live forever the second time,” one Twitter user quipped.
Another wrote: “It’s not your fault you didn’t know Neil Armstrong died a year ago. You were too busy clicking through galleries of idiot pop stars.”
“Neil Armstrong dies once a year now. It’s a space-time thing,” wrote another.
According to website The Inquisitr, the tweets about his death might have been sparked after Facebook and Twitter entity “I [expletive] Love Science” posted a message to mark the anniversary of his death.
“Yesterday marked the one year anniversary of the death of Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon,” it wrote.
But inaccurate information, death and injury hoaxes, and other false news have spread like wildfire on Twitter. Recently, there were messages saying that both NFL quarterbacks Michael Vick and Peyton Manning suffered injuries in car crashes. While several years ago, users tweeted that pop singer Justin Bieber had died.
Noting the trend, The Guardian offered a quiz, asking users to identify dead or alive famous people.