Songstress Etta James is the latest victim of an Internet death hoax. Rumors of the 73-year old's death began circulating via a fake TMZ page that announced James had died on August 3.
The website Geeks.co.uk reports receiving the death announcement from "a rather faceless email address with no contact information."
As the website points out, the announcement appears to have been assembled by copying and pasting information from James' Wikipedia page.
James is best known for her oft-covered song "At Last" and was regularly mentioned as an influence on Amy Winehouse.
The singer's health has been in decline since being diagnosed with dementia in 2009 and leukemia early this year. Her longtime husband, Artis Mills, has filed for power of attorney over her estate as James is believed to have trouble performing basic tasks, Essence magazine reported.
Los Angeles Times reporter Phil Willon posted a tweet just before noon on Thursday saying Etta's son, Donto James, had denied the reports of his mother's death.
Below is the full text of the fake death announcement, as reprinted by Geeks.co.uk:
Music legend Etta James has died at the age of 73.
The seminal R&B songstress and multiple Grammy winner behind hits such as I Just Wanna Make Love To You, At Last, I'd Rather Go Blind and You Can Leave Your Hat On, had been suffering from Alzheimer's disease since 2009 and was hospitalised earlier this year with a blood clot, died yesterday in Southern California.
Etta James - who was portrayed in the 2008 movie Cadillac Records by Beyonce - was born and brought up in Los Angeles by a series of carers. She sent her childhood singing in the church and by 14 had set up a doowop group called Peaches which recorded "The Wallflower (Dance with Me, Henry)" scoring a #2 on the rhythm and blues charts in February 1955.
She recorded and performed ever since, releasing 30 albums and 58 singles, including a time when she rebuilt her career following a crippling heroin addiction.
She was cited as inspiration to a host of artists including The Rolling Stones, Rod Stewart, Adele, Amy Winehouse, and Paloma Faith.
She is survived by husband Artis Mills, and sons Donto and Sametto.