Editor’s Note: A version of this story appeared in the CNN Reliable Sources newsletter.
TMZ stunned readers Wednesday, sending off push alerts reporting that the iconic rocker Jerry Lee Lewis had died.
The only problem: Lewis,87, is, in fact, alive.
Moments after publishing the story, the outlet took down its story and replaced it with a new article reporting that Lewis was still among the living.
“TMZ regrets the error,” the unbylined story said. But not before a host of national and local outlets ran with the erroneous report, setting off a cascade of “BREAKING” stories that also had to be walked back.
Reached for comment, a rep for Lewis confirmed to CNN, “He’s alive. TMZ reported erroneously off of an anonymous tip.”