Reports of Nora Ephron's death were premature, but they were not another Internet hoax as the sick writer is likely to die of leukemia tonight in a New York hospital.
The 71-year-old screenwriter, who won movie-goers' hearts by writing ultra-popular romantic comedies like When Harry Met Sally, Sleepless In Seattle and You've Got Mail, is still living, according to her family, despite a premature obituary run by women's website Wowowow.com that garnered heavy attention on Tuesday.
The discredited obit, which began with the heart-wrenching line I am sitting here with an open box of mail from and to Nora Ephron between the years of the early 60s and a month ago was still available to be read on the website as of 7 p.m. Tuesday.
The Internet exploded with expressions of grief over the supposed death of Nora Ephron, a pop icon, a prominent figure in the history of the women's-lib era and one of the most talented and successful rom-com writers of all time.
It is hard to know where to begin when discussing all of the important things Nora Ephron has done and experienced in her long life, from being nominated for three Academy Awards to working as a reporter for a time at the New York Post to being one of the few people to know the identity of Deep Throat (Mark Felt) before her ex-husband Carl Bernstein revealed that information publicly several years ago.
In recent years she has continued to write despite her reported sickness, and several years ago she began writing an occasionally updated blog for the Huffington Post, where she is still listed as an Editor at Large.
She moved in the highest circles of New York City society, and she wrote with an authority and panache that made her one of the all-time highest-grossing screenwriters.
Wowowow.com's obituary by Liz Smith, which spread the false rumor that Nora Ephron has died, has now been discredited by a number of publications, including the Atlantic Wire, which spoke to Elizabeth Lindsay, a spokeswoman for Ephron's publisher Knopf:
It's pretty critical. She's not doing well, but she's certainly alive, Lindsay said. The report she has passed away is not correct.
Newsweek senior entertainment reporter Maria Elena Fernandez provided more information, tweeting Tuesday that Nora Ephron news is not a hoax but she has not passed away. She is not expected to make it through tonight. This is the truth.
Wowowow.com has been thoroughly shamed by the misinformed story, which was made even worse when the publication's advice columnist tweeted information about the death that had not taken place:
Well, to those of you who can't find the news of Nora Ephron's death, the funeral is Thursday -- and maybe that's the way she wanted it, she tweeted.
Nora Ephron has been married to her third husband, author and screenwriter Nicholas Pillegi, since 1989.