Is Mikhail Gorbachev Dead?

In what appears to be a growing trend, especially on Twitter, we find another false rumor of a prominent death. Today’s rumor states that former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev has died, which is completely false.

Today’s rumor comes less than 24 hours after a false rumor about the death of Robin Williams. The Gorbachev story was proliferated, and perhaps created by, a fake twitter account for the “Prime Minister of Sweden” which announced the death that they later “confirmed” with a tweet stating, “Prime Minister of Russian Federation confirmes the death of M.S.Gorbachev.”

Mikhail Gorbachev is still alive.

After a flurry of retweeting of the phony event, some semblance of reality returned when Daniel Sandford (@BBCdanielS) of the BBC verified it was a hoax and tweeted: “Mikhail Gorbachev’s aide has told the BBC that he is alive, has been out this afternoon, and has recently visited a clinic for routine tests.”

Origin of the rumor:

Fredrik Reinfeldt ?@FReinfeldtGov
The Government of Sweden announces the death of Mikhail S. Gorbachev, former President of Soviet Union

Then shortly after that, a follow-up by the same account:

Fredrik Reinfeldt ?@FReinfeldtGov
Prime Minister of Russian Federation confirmes the death of M.S.Gorbachev.

The moral of the story is not to believe everything you read online, even if the source claims to be someone important. Take a moment to confirm such stories before sharing them, or you may look silly when your friends start telling you that you fell for a hoax. And if you see the rumor, link to this story in the comments.