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Biden did not die in 2020, as posts online claim

Joe Biden is alive and well, despite a conspiracy theory that the US president died in 2020 and was buried in Arlington National Cemetery. The Democrat has repeatedly appeared in public, his doctor did not raise any health issues during a February 2024 medical exam, and the grave cited online does not exist.

"Did Joe Biden Die in 2020 & was he buried Arlington National Cemetery?" a March 17, 2024 post on X from an account called "Concerned Citizen" asks.

"Truth is stranger than Fiction," it concludes.

The post accumulated thousands of interactions on the platform, which has been plagued by misinformation since Elon Musk purchased it in fall 2022.

<span>Screenshot from X taken March 20, 2024</span>
Screenshot from X taken March 20, 2024

Similar claims have spread on Facebook and TikTok, playing into concerns over Biden's age as he runs against former president Donald Trump to retake the White House.

As evidence, the posts cite a supposed screenshot from the website Find a Grave. Text in the image says Biden died January 17, 2020 in "Guantánamo, Cuba" -- a reference to a US detention facility -- and was subsequently buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

That is false.

For starters, anyone can add to Find a Grave's public database of cemetery records (archived here). A page similar to the one shared online was created March 15 by a user named "Dan the Chickenman."

Before it was removed from the website, the entry falsely claimed Biden was "executed for treason against the American people" and that his funeral was January 20, 2021 -- the day of his inauguration.

If Biden had been laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery, there would be a public record of his burial.

But no one with the president's last name appears in the US military cemetery's database of gravesites (archived here). Biden's daughter Naomi, his son Beau and his first wife Neilia are buried at St Joseph on the Brandywine Church in Greenville, Delaware.

AFP journalists have taken thousands of photos and videos of Biden since he took office. He was most recently photographed on a trip to Arizona, a key battleground state in the 2024 presidential election.

<span>US President Joe Biden speaks during a campaign event at El Portal Restaurant in Phoenix, Arizona on March 19, 2024</span><div><span>Brendan Smialowski</span><span>AFP</span></div>
US President Joe Biden speaks during a campaign event at El Portal Restaurant in Phoenix, Arizona on March 19, 2024
Brendan SmialowskiAFP
<span>US President Joe Biden waits to speak to supporters during a campaign event at El Portal Restaurant in Phoenix, Arizona, on March 19, 2024</span><div><span>Brendan Smialowski</span><span>AFP</span></div>
US President Joe Biden waits to speak to supporters during a campaign event at El Portal Restaurant in Phoenix, Arizona, on March 19, 2024
Brendan SmialowskiAFP

Biden, 81, is the oldest sitting president in US history.

However, Biden's doctor said in February that the Democrat remains "fit for duty" with no new health worries. The annual examination at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center came just weeks after a special counsel report that portrayed him as elderly and forgetful.

"He continues to be fit for duty and fully executes all of his responsibilities without any exemptions or accommodations," White House doctor Kevin O'Connor said in a summary (archived here).

"This year's physical identified no new concerns."

AFP has previously debunked claims that Biden has a twin or body double here.