Dear Urban Legends:
We read on the Internet on Sunday, December 17 that Slim Shady, a.k.a. Eminem, died in a car crash at 2:30 in the morning. According to this article he was on his way to a late-night party and was drunk and high on drugs.
We can't seem to locate the site. Can you find out if this is true or not? Is Eminem really dead?
There's a very good reason you can't find the website. It was deleted almost as soon as it went up. Another reader sent me the URL shortly before I received your message, but when I tried to access the page — which I'm told was a decent-looking spoof of CNN's online news site — it was nowhere to be found.
The same article was posted on a bogus MTV page, now deleted as well. Emails containing the URLs and the headline "Rapper Eminem Dies in Car Accident" began circulating among AOL users on Saturday, but by Sunday the pages were nowhere to be found. This was a hit-and-run hoax.
Here, from an online posting, is the full text attributed to, but not actually published on, CNN:
December 15, 2000
Web posted at 6:12 a.m. EST (0012 GMT)
Rapper "Eminem" Dies in Car Accident.
Multi-platinum artist Marshall Mathers, known by the stage name "Eminem", was killed at 2:30AM EST while driving a rental car on his way to a late-night party.
Mathers, who authorities believe was under the influence of alcohol or drugs, was behind the wheel of a Saturn coupe that witnesses say swerved to avoid a slow moving vehicle, then lost control and slammed into a grove of trees.
The car was crumpled by the impact, making extraction of Mather's body very difficult. He was declared dead on the scene by paramedics who arriced a short time later.
Authorities would not comment on details surrounding the accident other than to confirm the identity of the victim.
Mathers was 26.
The story is clearly a hoax. No legitimate news sources have reported the death of Marshall Mathers. The following denial was posted on Eminem's official website:
"Despite sick-minded ne'er do-well attempts to create a state of panic in this grand country by virtue of a well-crafted CNN.com fake news story prank, our beloved Slim Shady is alive and well," the statement reads. "Marshall is alive and at home with his family for the holidays in Detroit. And he wishes all of you shady holidays and a dirty new year."
2010 Update: Versions of this hoax have continued to circulate on and off since the earliest posting in 2000. The most recent variant (as of January 2010) reads as follows:
EMINEM DIES IN FATAL CAR ACCIDENT
TOP STORIES - Rap Singer Eminem died this morning in a terrible car crash. The cause of this horrible accident was blamed for the cell phone that he was using when riding in his car. It is thought that he was not paying attention when he swerved into an oncoming truck.
He was brought to a hospital in critical condition, but he died from bleeding to death. "There was really nothing we could do to help him" said Dr. Adams who was taking care of Eminem at the time.We will always remember Eminem from his music and his words. MTV will be having a special memorial program for him.
"First it's Pac then it's Biggie then Eminem" said Snoop Dogg, another famous rap singer.
Again, this rumor has been circulating for years, and shows no signs of stopping. Rule of thumb on information contained in forwarded emails: until you read it in a legitimate news source, consider it false.
Last updated 01/08/10