Hosni Mubarak, Egypt's ousted leader, has been the subject of death speculations since he was sentenced to life in prison on June 2, the New York Times pointed out, though discussion of the decline of his health was illegal over the course of his 30-year reign.
Mubarak was already falsely rumored to have died on June 12, Sophos reported. As the world holds its breath over the announcement of Mubarak's "clinical death" Tuesday, we take a look at some of the most heart-stopping death speculations to make their way through the rumor mill.
More from GlobalPost: Hosni Mubarak 'clinically dead,' says Egypt state media
1. Joe Paterno
The Penn State head coach, legendary for winning the most games in major college football, fell from grace when he became embroiled in the sex abuse charges against his former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky, ESPN reported. Paterno was suffering from lung cancer leading up to the scandal, and his death was mistakenly reported early by reporters more than 12 hours before his doctors and family members announced he had died, the New York Times reported.
"Sadness turned to shock and panic as I realized that I had made the mistake of a lifetime," wrote Devon Edwards, the managing editor of Onward State, the Penn State publication that had pre-emptively announced Paterno's death.
2. Tina Turner
On Saturday, June 9th, Twitter (more often than not the main culprit of spreading false death rumors) was buzzing with talk that the 72-year-old singer had passed away, E! Online reported. The confusion stemmed from an "advance obituary" published on a website called Necropedia.com. However, Turner's rep quickly set the record straight, telling reporters that he had just spoken to his client and that Turner "was still very much alive," Gossip Cop reported.
3. Hugo Chavez
When the Venezuelan leader left the country on April 14 to undergo cancer treatment in Havana, his nine-day silence sparked rumors of his death, Reuters reported. Chavez had only been communicating via short tweets, leading many to speculate he had died during his cancer therapy.
"It seems we will have to become accustomed to live with these rumors, because it is part of the laboratories of psychological war, of dirty war" the 57-year-old socialist leader said in a telephone call to Venezuelan state television on April 23, according to Reuters.
More from GlobalPost: Hugo Chávez denies rumors of his own death
4. Gabrielle Giffords
The shooting that occurred during an event for Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords in January 2011 left 18 people injured and six dead, including a federal judge, the Washington Post reported. NPR, however, mistakenly reported that Giffords was one of the fatalities, after they received a tip from Arizona Public Media News Director Peter Michaels, whose wife was at the scene of the crime, wrote NPR's Ombudsman Edward Schumacher-Matos. Other major media outlets, including CNN and the New York Times, quickly spread the news.
"At the point the hospital confirmed Giffords was in surgery around 2:30 p.m., NPR should have done two things: sent out another e-mail alert correcting its mistake and when it next broadcast at 3 p.m., it should have said that NPR mistakenly reported Giffords' death and given the new, correct information," wrote Schumacher-Matos. "Neither of these things was done that day."
The day after the shooting, NPR's executive editor Dick Meyer apologized on npr.org and aired apologies on two newscasts.
5. Mikhail Gorbachev
In late May 2012, a newly created Twitter account (@FReinfeldtGov) claiming to belong to the Prime Minister of Sweden tweeted that former Russian President Mikhail Gorbachev's had died, security firm Sophos reported. The firm looked into the account and found it had only been created an hour earlier, and that the Soviet leader was still alive.
"Social media is the most unverifiable information source in the world, but the news media believes it because of its need for speed," Tommaso de Benedetti, an Italian schoolteacher who recently impersonated Afghan president Hamid Karzai and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on Twitter, told the Guardian.
6. Margaret Thatcher
French News organization LesNews started the rumor on Twitter (are you surprised?) that the former British prime minister had died on May 9, 2012, Gawker reported. They had gotten their news from a fake Carla Bruni Twitter account, according to Gawker. The rumor spread as far as Canada, where former Quebec party leader Mario Dumont retweeted the news, the Globe and Mail reported.
“R.I.P. Margaret Thatcher, a woman of vision and decisiveness. A rarity,” Dumont had originally tweeted.
My, how rumors fly.