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Fact Check: Bruce Willis Still Isn't Dead (March 2024 Update)

VCG / Getty Images
VCG / Getty Images

Claim:

Actor Bruce Willis died, as of March 18, 2024.

Rating:

Rating: False
Rating: False

All throughout 2023 and 2024, false rumors circulated claiming that Bruce Willis had died. It's a claim that's been in Snopes' mailbox pretty consistently since November 2022, about six months after Willis announced that he would retire from acting due to various medical symptoms. In fact, we already wrote two different fact-checks about the actor's health during that time.

Snopes found various claims of Willis's death across social media platforms, but the most recent version of the claim as of mid-March 2023 seemed to originate from a viral TikTok with over 1 million views captioned "Sad news Bruce Willis is pass away Expected Soon Family Prepare To Say Goodbye."

@dtspayper.002 Sad news Bruce Willis is pass away Expected Soon Family Prepare To Say Goodbye. Part 1 #hot #news #hotnews #whodiedtoday #diedin2024 #died #today #bruce #willis #famous #actors #lengend #stars ♬ original sound - DTspayper.002

The TikTok offered no evidence for an onlooker to independently verify the claim. Indeed, Snopes concluded that as of this writing, there was no evidence that the actor had died. Had that actually happened, reputable news outlets such as The Associated Press and The New York Times would have published obituaries to memorialize his death. That had not happened.

The hoax spread with more urgency beginning in 2023 because of Willis's ongoing medical condition, frontotemporal dementia (FTD), which he was diagnosed with in February of that year. The condition is a degenerative brain disorder that generally affects one's ability to communicate and their general behavior.

After his diagnosis was announced publicly, members of his family occasionally spoke publicly about his condition. Willis's wife, Emma Henning Willis, posted a video on her Instagram page on March 3 criticizing a headline she saw that claimed there was "no more joy in [her] husband."

Celebrity death hoaxes are a form of junk news, designed to get gullible readers to linger on a website or engage with a social media user because a famous person is involved. Such articles are often clickbait, if not outright phishing scams. In rare cases, the false rumors are based on faulty reporting or misunderstandings.

Here's our running list of celebrity death hoaxes, which have targeted everyone from Clint Eastwood to Josh Peck to Sam Elliot to Celine Dion.

Sources:

"Bruce Willis' Family Allegedly 'Anxious' About His Decreased Appetite And Weight Loss Amid Dementia Battle." Yahoo Entertainment, 11 Mar. 2024, https://www.yahoo.com/entertainment/bruce-willis-family-allegedly-anxious-220047410.html.

"Frontotemporal Dementia - Symptoms and Causes." Mayo Clinic, https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/frontotemporal-dementia/symptoms-causes/syc-20354737. Accessed 18 Mar. 2024.

"How Is Bruce Willis' Health? Wife Slams Claims That He Has 'no More Joy' Left." TODAY.Com, 4 Mar. 2024, https://www.today.com/health/disease/bruce-willis-health-rcna99998.

Instagram. https://www.instagram.com/p/C4D1QSPp9AX/?hl=en. Accessed 18 Mar. 2024.

LaMagdeleine, Izz Scott. "Bruce Willis' Wife Shares 'Final Update' About His Dementia Diagnosis?" Snopes, 6 Oct. 2023, https://www.snopes.com//fact-check/bruce-willis-dementia/.

Liles, Jordan. "Bruce Willis Is Not Dead, Despite 'Very Sad News' Facebook Death Hoax." Snopes, 17 Nov. 2022, https://www.snopes.com//fact-check/bruce-willis-death-hoax/.

TikTok - Make Your Day. https://www.tiktok.com/@reporter.rose/video/7329699034321456414. Accessed 18 Mar. 2024.

---. https://www.tiktok.com/@dtspayper.002/video/7345802353850764586?q=bruce%20willis%20dead&t=1710791788507. Accessed 18 Mar. 2024.