Former U.S. Senator and Republican presidential nominee Bob Dole is not dead, despite rumors to the contrary that emerged on the Internet Tuesday evening.
Dole, who has remained mostly out of the spotlight in recent years was hospitalized Tuesday at Walter Reed Hospital in Washington, D.C, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced on the Senate floor Tuesday, according to CBS News.
"He is at Walter Reed not for a checkup," Reid said on the Senate floor. "He is there because he is infirm. He is sick."
But an unnamed aide to Dole played down the rumors, telling CBS the following: "he checked himself in for a routine procedure and will discharge tomorrow ... Doing well and watching the CRPD debate on CSPAN 2."
NBC News Capitoal Hill correspondent Kelly O'Donnell echoed CBS's remarks, tweeting the following Tuesday evening: "Aide to 89 yr old former Sen. Bob Dole says he 'will be discharged tomorrow (from Walter Reed) He's doing very well.'"
CBS reports that Reid's remarks on the Senate floor came after Sen. John McCain, an Arizona Republican, read a letter from Dole pushing for the Congress to pass the Convention of Persons with Disabilities (referenced above as CPRD), which would expand rights for disabled persons. Dole's arm was shattered during World War II, and he has been a champion of rights for disabled Americans.
As Reid said, the 89-year-old Kansan's health is not good, but as of Tuesday evening he was still alive, despite erroneous rumors to the contrary on Twitter and elsewhere.
The rumors, which are of the sort that often crop up when a celebrity is sick or makes big news, spread via Twitter, but also made it to websites like Necropedia, which ran a fake obituary for him on its site Tuesday that read as follows:
"Bob Dole, born on July 22, 1923 in Russell, was an American politician. He died on November 29, 2012 at the age of 89. Tributes have poured in from across the world."
Clearly the date, which has not yet come to pass, renders the report entirely false, and the site ran a disclaimer stating that the obit "is not a real news article."
But that didn't stop Twitter users from running with the erroneous rumor that Bob Dole had died, which may or may not have been egged on by the Necropedia posting.
Twitter user @lucyfuntimeshow seemed distraught by the false news about Dole, tweeting the following on Nov. 25, when the rumor first made the rounds:
"o s--- is bob dole dead though, oh man i just pulled that name out of thin air i really hope bob dole isnt dead jesus christ."
And @MostHatedmvp added his own opinion on the matter on Tuesday in a tweet that is likely to be misinterpreted as it spreads throughout the Twitterverse:
"'@YahooTicket: Bob Dole, 89, hospitalized at Walter Reed:' Yea he's dead."
In this age of uber-fast news cycles and misinformation, celebrity death rumors have become the norm rather than the exception, with everyone from Kobe Bryant and Eddie Murphy to Reese Witherspoon and John Cena falling victim to unfounded death hoaxes on Twitter.
It is often difficult to determine where such misinformation finds its genesis, but the sad truth is that it appears to be an unstoppable force in today's social media landscape.