Rowan Atkinson target of sick online death hoax

Emma Powell
Target: British comedian Rowan Atkinson: Eamonn M. McCormack/Getty

Rowan Atkinson fell victim to a death hoax after it was claimed he had died in a car crash.

Fans feared the 62-year-old actor had passed away at the weekend after a Twitter account posing as US broadcaster Fox News spread the fake news by duping users into clicking on a malicious link.

The tweet – which got the actor’s age wrong – read: “FOX BREAKING NEWS : Mr. Bean (Rowan Atkinson) died at 58 after car accident. -March 18, 2017.”

It was shared and liked more than 300,000 times.

In character: British comedy icon Rowan Atkinson as Mr. Bean (Stuart C. Wilson/Getty)

Website Hoax Alert was quick to dispel the claims and said: “Celebrity death hoaxes are nothing new on the internet yet this one is special in that it managed to be liked/shared over 300,000 times in a short period of time by employing some devious technical tricks.

“The first one is the video player embedded in the site. At first sight this is just a normal YouTube video from a Fox News broadcast (which is about a death but not about Rowan Atkinson).”

Despite debunking the fake reports, fans were quick to pay tribute to the Blackadder and Mr Bean actor on social media.

Others blasted the hoax with one tweeting: “Heard Rowan Atkinson died.. so glad to hear that isn't true #F***deathhoaxes #Tiredofthiss***#LongliveMrBean.”

Another wrote: “I can't believe anyone would make up a hoax story that Rowan Atkinson has died. Who does that?!!!”

It is not the first time the British star has been the target of hoaxers. In July 2016 it was falsely reported that he has taken his own life after “battling severe depression”.

Standard Online has contacted representatives for Atkinson for comment.