One of the world's most trusted technology magazines last night reported that Apple chief Steve Jobs had died after going into cardiac arrest at his California home.

Except that, well, it didn't – the story was the work of pranksters who hacked into the Web site of Wired magazine and published the hoax themselves before spreading the link on social networks.

The fake story, which was taken down in less than two hours, was complete with a current timestamp, a list of related stories and appeared under the name of a writer known for publishing stories on Mr Jobs' health.

"A widely-circulated URL... that purports to be a Wired.com story about Steve Jobs' health is a hack job," said Epicenter blogger John C Abell.

"I've written a number of stories about Jobs health hoaxes... but the true author of this crude fake, which hit far closer to home, remains a mystery."

The hoax is the latest in a long line of rumours about Mr Jobs' death, which seem to have ramped up again amid media speculation over the technology icon's health.

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