Relax, your childhood memories are safe: Tom Kenny, the actor who voices SpongeBob Squarepants in the eponymous television series, is not dead after all. He's simply the latest celebrity to fall victim to the ridiculous Twitter death-hoax machine.
Twitter lit up with rumors about Kenny's death Sunday when a picture supposedly paying tribute to the voice actor popped up on the social network.
The much-shared photo showed Kenny standing next to a statue of SpongeBob SquarePants with the caption: "RIP Tom Kenny, the voice of SpongeBob. Retweet to say thanks for making your childhood happier."
The photo was most often shared with the poster writing, "This picture deserves endless retweets." Because of this, it appears the whole campaign was simply a hoax designed to earn a select few Twitter users thousands of followers
No news sources -- credible or otherwise -- have come out discussing Kenny or his health. The rumor seems to be solely confined to the Twitterverse.
While the original image did not include a cause of death, many users spreading the story claimed Kenny had died of cancer. The 50-year-old voice actor has never made a public statement about having cancer of any kind.
This isn't the first time Kenny's name has come up in a death hoax. In 2011, a death hoax was so popular that "Tom Kenny dead" is still one of Google's top suggestions for the voice actor.
It's not a huge shock that someone such as Kenny could be the target of such irresponsible rumors, however, as many other celebrities have been hit with similarly unfounded death hoaxes. Most recently, Morgan Freeman was the victim of a large-scale death hoax that lasted for several days.
Remy Ma, Reese Witherspoon, Eddie Murphy, Kanye West, Jeff Goldblum, Britney Spears, Morgan Freeman, Justin Bieber, Barack Obama, Kim Jong Un, Phil Collins, Gotye, Pitbull, Usher, Robin Williams, Keke Palmer, Patrick Dempsey, Chingy, Paul McCartney, Rowan Atkinson, Madonna, Soulja Boy, Adele, Demi Moore, Jon Bon Jovi, Cher, Tony Danza, Jackie Chan, Hugh Hefner, Mick Jagger are among the many to have found themselves at the mercy of Internet pranksters who claimed they were dead on Twitter, often by getting a tweet starting with "R.I.P." or "RIP" to go viral on social-media sites, especially Twitter.
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