R.I.P. Rowan Atkinson is the latest Twitter hoax that surfaced hours before the 2012 Oscars.
It's been a morbid week on Twitter, leading up to the Oscars with Madonna, Chris Brown and Facebook among the death hoax victims.
R.I.P. Rowan Atkinson, was tweeted by user Michael Robert Meras in the Philippines on Saturday and went viral instantly. The user later apologized, saying it was a joke, but when other Twitter users from London confirmed Atkinson's apparent death, the trend continued.
Here's how Twitter responded to the hoax:
Rip Rowan Atkinson made me nearly have a heart attack. Whoever started that is sick, tweets user You're.
RIP Rowan Atkinson? Really Twitter? Mr. Bean made 3 generations laugh without saying a word. Respect the man!!! Tweets Fail Wale.
RIP Rowan Atkinson? I know Twitter kills more people than Hitler.., Russell Miracle.
R.I.P Rowan Atkinson? Omg stop killing people, twitter. Mr. Bean will haunt you down, whoever who started this. Shame on you, tweets Linda N.
Once the hoax started gaining momentum, many tweeted, saying R.I.P. meant Really Inspiring Person, as opposed to Rest in Peace, claiming the original tweet had been misinterpreted. Although Meras, who first composed the tweet, said he wrote Rest in Peace as a joke.
The most recent tweets with the R.I.P. hashtag suggest Twitter users are fed up with the constant flood of death hoaxes, with some saying that Twitter kills more people than Hitler.
People are also more sensitive to such hoaxes close to big award ceremonies as Whitney Houston died Feb. 11 on the eve of the Grammy Awards, which changed the entire mood of the ceremony, and many speculated the same would happen at the Oscars if Rowan Atkinson was really dead. How will the #Oscars pay Tribute to Mr. Bean Love Machines tweeted on Saturday.
Madonna was another victim of a Twitter death hoax last week. According to Twitter users, the hoax started because the singer's latest single, Give Me All Your Luvin', was a flop.
Madonna fans were irate after the hoax. RIP Madonna? Seriously STOP! That's not okay at all. It's not funny, its not classy, its not right. We just lost Whitney, death is NOT a joke, one user tweeted.
Chris Brown also recieved a R.I.P. hashtag, following his performance at the Grammys. In 2009, Brown was charged with assaulting his then-girlfriend Rihanna, which resulted in many people not welcoming his comeback at the Grammys.