Wednesday 24 January 2018

Hart's death trends six years later

Tony Hart's death has been trending on social media - despite the TV artist passwing away in 2009.
Tony Hart's death has been trending on social media - despite the TV artist passwing away in 2009.

Tributes have been pouring in on Twitter for TV presenter and artist Tony Hart - even though he died six years ago.

The late artist has been trending on social media in the UK, with so many users posting links to an old article in the Guardian about his death that the story became the most-read on its site.

The paper has been forced to update the story so that the phrase "this article was published in 2009" now appears in bold at the top of the page.

Mr Hart died in January 2009 at the age of 83, and was widely known for his work alongside stop-motion character Morph - but on Monday his name was among the top trends in the UK as Twitter users posted their condolences, while others asked what had prompted the six-year delay.

Some suggested that the trend had been started by a Facebook user posting an obituary for Mr Hart to the social network yesterday - though the rapid spread of story makes that unlikely, according to some experts.

The official Twitter account for Morph even joined the wave of posts - attempting to offer clarity - commenting: "Over the past 24 hrs, many people on Twitter have reported that Tony Hart has recently died. Tony sadly died in 2009."

The official YouTube channel for the animated character, who was recently revived following a crowd-funding campaign through website Kickstarter, posted a tribute episode to Mr Hart at the end of January, where Morph hangs a portrait of the artist in his honour.

It is not the first time social media has been mistaken in the wake of a celebrity death; following the death of comedian Robin Williams last year, thousands of Twitter users mistakenly posted tributes to singer Robbie Williams - and in the wake of the death of another comedian; Joan Rivers, actress Joan Collins was frequently mentioned on social media.

Other examples have included wildlife presenter Sir David Attenborough being mistaken for his brother, the late Lord Richard Attenborough, and Morgan Freeman being pictured by Twitter users paying tribute to former South African president Nelson Mandela.

Press Association

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