John Lewis Death Hoax: How Rumors Killed Veteran US Congressman

Lewis,80, the last living leader of the Civil Rights Movement announced in December that he has been battling pancreatic cancer

Saturday afternoon, social media caught itself in a frenzy after rumors claimed that the last living leader of the Civil Rights Movement and veteran US congressman John Lewis has passed away.

The news shocked hundreds on social media platforms, especially Twitter, where many started paying their respects.

It has now been established beyond doubt that the rumors of the passing of the Atlanta civil rights leader, John Lewis were false.

Who is John Lewis?

The John Lewis death hoax was sparked mainly after a tweet shared by U.S. Rep. Alma Adams of North Carolina and HBCU Buzz, a historically black colleges and universities blog.

Adams has since deleted the tweet and issued an apology, and HBCU Buzz also followed suit and removed the tweet and articles.

Rep. Alma Adams in the tweet, which now has been deleted said: "Words cannot do John Lewis justice because everything he did was in the service of Justice. He gave everything - including his blood and his body - to the Movement. It was an honor to make "good trouble" with John in the House, and I will miss both my friend and the man himself."

Soon after this, the Atlanta-Journal Constitution was the first to establish that the John Lewis death rumors were a hoax and weren't true. "It's only rumors," The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported citing Lewis' chief of staff, Michael Collins. "He is resting comfortably at home," Collins added.

An embarrassed Congresswoman Adams quickly deleted her post and issued an apology: "We deeply regret a previous tweet based on a false news report."

However, Adams faced severe criticism for her false tweet that started a death hoax. Later the North Carolina lawmaker Adams posted another tweet:

"I am deeply sorry to Congressman John Lewis, his family, and his staff for the erroneous information posted to our social media accounts earlier today. Rep. Lewis is one of my friends and heroes and I am relieved to know he is at home resting,"

Alma Adams's deputy chief of staff, Sam Spencer, in a tweet later said that he takes "full responsibility for the erroneous information posted" on the Congresswoman's official Twitter handle.

"It should have never happened. I would like to take this opportunity to apologize to @repjohnlewis and everyone who was as heartbroken as I was when they heard this hoax," Spencer tweeted.

The CEO of HBCU Buzz also offered an apology.

Lewis, 80, who is in treatment for advanced-stage pancreatic cancer told People Magazine though he had some days that were "not so good," that his health has been improving.

Despite his illness, the civil rights icon was vocal during the recent George Floyd protests and released a statement in which he spoke about how broken-hearted he feels for the men, women, and families still enduring systemic racism in the U.S.