7 Country Music Death Hoaxes Of The Past

LeAnn Mueller via Rolling Stone/IMDb/Courtesy Photo via Le High Valley Live

The Weird Rumors You’ve Likely Heard

For decades, tabloids have been inciting panic with false reports about celebrity deaths. The more popular a star becomes, the more often they seem to become the subject of a death hoax.

Country music artists are not exempt from such stories. Some of the genre’s biggest stars of both past and present have been hit with their fair share of death hoaxes.

In this day and age where the internet rules all, death hoaxes can spread like wildfire. It hasn’t been an uncommon thing for country stars to wake up in the morning or get online and read a report about their own death.

Some of these death hoaxes are just downright strange. But at least some artists get a good kick out of them! Head below to read about seven of the strangest death hoaxes in country music history.

1. Ray Price

Known for songs such as “For the Good Times” and “Heartaches by the Number,” country music legend Ray Price revealed on November 6, 2012 that he had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Price put up a strong fight, and played at least 100 concerts in 2013.

After reaching the final stages of cancer, Price was hospitalized on December 2, 2013 and entered hospice care ten days later.

On December 15, various media outlets reported that Price had passed away. The Tennessean issued a report on his death at the time, claiming that it was Price’s son, Cliff, who announced his passing on Facebook. However, Price was still alive at the time, and the story was retracted.

Price died the following day, December 16, as confirmed by a family spokesman.

2. George Jones

As one of the most beloved artists in country music history, fans were heartbroken when they heard a report that George Jones had passed away on April 18, 2013. Although the reports were false, Jones was in failing health at the time and was hospitalized on that date.

Following the report, Jones’ rep spoke out to dismiss the claims that the “He Stopped Loving Her Today” singer had passed away. Wanting to be cautious, the rep kept news of Jones’ hospitalization under wraps.

Because of the death hoax, fans were reluctant to believe the news when Jones died due to hypoxic respiratory failure eight days later on April 26, 2013. 

3. Reba McEntire

Believe it or not, even Reba McEntire has been the subject of a death hoax before. In early 2012, a rumor started circulating that McEntire had died after falling off of a mountain while filming a movie in Austria.

Sounds pretty out there, right? Well plenty of people believed the rumor, including McEntire’s nephew. Speaking on The Talk, McEntire revealed that her nephew called his mom crying, saying that he heard the news from other people while he was pumping gas at a gas station.

McEntire’s sister quickly called her and found out that she was alive and well. Due to the distress that her nephew went through, McEntire made it clear what she thinks of celebrity death hoaxes.There are so many of those hoaxes that are just going around and I think it’s cruel,” she said. “That’s not funny.”

4. Slim Whitman

Known for his falsetto voice and yodeling skills, reports of Slim Whitman’s death started circulating long before he died. January 20, 2008 was Whitman’s 85th birthday, but it ended up being the day that many people believed he had died.

It’s a common practice for news outlets to keep a catalog of obituaries in case a major celebrity dies. That way, the organization stands a good chance at being the first to break the story. However, this sometimes leads to the premature publication of a celebrity death story, as in Whitman’s case.

Instead of publishing a story wishing Whitman a happy birthday, The Tennessean accidentally published his obituary. It didn’t take long for the article to go viral.

The report eventually reached Whitman, who found the whole thing to be pretty comical. He had the perfect response, saying, “I can still sing; if you’re dead, you can’t sing.”

Whitman kept on singing for many more years before retiring in 2010. He passed away on June 19, 2013.

5. Loretta Lynn

Loretta Lynn has been the subject of not one, but two major death hoaxes over the course of her career. The first big hoax started making the rounds in 2006, when a rumor spread that Lynn had died on the operating table during surgery.

The second death hoax started circulating on October 18, 2014. Someone had created a R.I.P. Loretta Lynn page on Facebook, and it started drawing attention from loads of distressed fans.

Despite its status as a memorial page, the only claim the R.I.P. Loretta Lynn page made was that Lynn had passed away at 11 that morning. Luckily, the rumors were not true, and Lynn is alive and well today! 

6. Blake Shelton

As one of the biggest stars in country music, it should come as no surprise that Blake Shelton has been the subject of a death hoax before. But what does come as a surprise is just how elaborate this particular death hoax became.

Travelers Today describes the hoax, which was circulated by Global Associated News. The report claimed that Shelton had passed away following a serious car accident on February 9, 2013. This report went so far as to include details about Shelton’s memorial service, saying that he would have a closed casket because of the head trauma he suffered in the accident.

Obviously, the report was not true. In fact, it said right at the bottom of the page that the story was “100 % fake.” But many readers overlooked that detail, leaving thousands in a panic that Shelton had died. Thankfully, they had no reason to be worried.

7. Willie Nelson

Willie Nelson has probably been the subject of more death hoaxes than any country artist in history. In fact, there’s been so many hoaxes that it would be impossible to count all of the reports and rumors claiming Nelson has died.

In 2015 alone, there were three separate reports that Nelson had died. These reports were published by the fake news site MSMBC.co, which tries to trick readers by appearing to be MSNBC.com.

The first report was published on February 21, 2015. MSMBC updated the report on April 11 and again in August 2015. According to the August report, Nelson had been found unresponsive on the lawn of his home in Hawaii. As we all know now, that report was false.

Nelson poked fun at his many death hoaxes in a song titled “Still Not Dead,” which appeared on his album God’s Problem Child. Now that may be the only way to make something good out of a death hoax!

Which of these hoaxes surprised you the most, or which one did you find to be the most bizarre?