Brad Pitt is the latest celebrity to be targeted by Internet pranksters in an internet death hoax.
The news of his death, which went viral online over the weekend, stated that the actor had had crashed into a tree and died while snowboarding in Zermatt, Switzerland.
The 48-year-old star now joins a long line of other celebrities, including Charlie Sheen, Christian Slater and Adam Sandler, who have also suffered the same hoax fate.
Although there was a disclaimer at the bottom of Pitt’s original story, saying it was totally false, the news spread and the internet was buzzing about the star’s demise on Sunday, the Daily Mail reported.
Pitt’s alleged demise was pretty much identical to Charlie Sheen’s fake death in 2010.
In 2010, Anger Management star Sheen, now 46, was falsely reported to have met the same fate as Pitt, dying after crashing into a tree while snowboarding.
Last year Slater, now 42, was also forced to deny he had been killed in a freak snowboarding accident in Switzerland when the false rumours started spreading round blogs.
Towards the end of 2010 the pranks seemed to be coming at an almost daily rate with dozens of victims, including Eddie Murphy and Adam Sandler.
Others who have been declared dead on the Internet only to be alive and well in real life are Justin Bieber, Britney Spears and Taylor Swift.
Many of the fake death claims appear to have originated from spoof news site Global Associated News.
It also appears to have a fetish for snowboarding deaths as Pitt, Murphy, Sandler and Sheen were all killed off at Switzerland’s Zermatt Ski Resort.
The website’s creator Rich Hoover has defended it and claimed it gives celebrities “free press.”
“It is dark comedy, done in poor taste, I’m guilty of that but the intent is not to be hurtful to one’s character,” he said.
“I try to make it very easy to dispel the myth….The fans do get upset and get their feathers ruffled more than the celebrities,” he added.