Aishwarya Rai is the victim of a viral death hoax, with a story circulating on social media claiming that the popular Bollywood actress had committed suicide.
The story has been circulating on Twitter and WhatsApp for the past day, fooling many people into believing the beloved actress had passed away. Many forwarded the fake news, unaware that she was really alive.
The hoax claimed that Rai took her life with an overdose of sleeping pills after a dispute with family members, ZoomTV noted.
As India.com noted, the story that Aishwarya Rai had died appeared to be spreading for no real reason at all. But because it also included a fake picture of a person bruised and bloodied in a hospital bed, many people appeared to be shocked into thinking that Rai had actually died.
“Yes, the latest buzz which states that ‘Ae Dil Hai Mushkil’ actress Aishwarya Rai Bachchan committed suicide. It seems as if the actress was trying to kill herself and this news as well as picture is going viral on social media,” the report noted. “Well, this piece of news is trending for no reason and people are going crazy over it. We all know, that celebrity death hoaxes are just common stuff which keep on circulating on social media.”
— Zoom TV (@ZoomTV) December 4, 2016
But Rai is still very much alive, and still very involved in a number of upcoming projects.
Aishwarya Rai Bachchan to compete with Salman Khan on the small screen? https://t.co/4giDFMwkSW
— BollywoodLife (@bollywood_life) December 1, 2016
The hoax story claiming that Aishwarya Rai committed suicide is now one of a growing number of fake stories targeting celebrities and politicians. This has been a trend in the past five or so years in the United States, with these stories cropping up on social media and spreading quickly, sometimes even prompting the person affected to release a statement clarifying that they are in fact alive.
Suicide is also a common method of death cited among celebrity death hoaxes. Before the story claiming that Aishwarya Rai was dead, American actor Adam Sandler was struck not once, but two separate times by a fake story claiming he had taken his life.
The report came from a fake news site called Linkbeef, and appeared to mix up details from Sandler’s fake death and the real-life death of actor and comedian Robin Williams.
“Sandler had recently returned to a rehabilitation centre to ‘fine-tune’ his sobriety, the Los Angeles Times reported in July.
“The local Sheriff’s office said Sandler was found unconscious and not breathing at his home near Tiburon, north of San Francisco.
“‘At this time, the Sheriff’s Office Coroner Division suspects the death to be a suicide due to asphyxia, but a comprehensive investigation must be completed before a final determination is made,’ police said in a statement.”
While these celebrity death hoaxes are more common in the U.K. and United States, there are a growing number coming out of India as well. At the same time that the story claiming Aishwarya Rai started trending on social media, a separate story claimed that Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa had died was also making the rounds.
This death hoax was a bit more timely, as Jayalalithaa had just suffered cardiac arrest and was reportedly in intensive care in Chennai, but reports indicated that she was in stable condition and appeared to be recovering.
There have been other Indian death hoaxes targeting celebrities, India.com noted. One of those was actress Katrina Kaif, who fell victim to a hoax Facebook page in November, 2013, claiming that she had died.
Though the Aishwarya Rai death hoax is only a few hours old, it does not appear that the actress has made any official response to the reports.
[Featured Image by Thibault Camus/AP Images]