PM Sharon Eyal Warshavsky/BauBau
Ariel Sharon Photo by Eyal Warshavsky/BauBau
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Ariel Sharon, the former prime minister of Israel who has been in a coma for the last five years, was mistakenly declared dead on Sunday over a social media network by one of Europe’s leading politicians.

Former Secretary-General of NATO and former European Union High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy Javier Solana sent a message over the Twitter network that Sharon reporting that Sharon had passed away. Sharon remains alive, though he is in a vegetative state.

Solana tweeted on Sunday that Sharon had finally succumbed, after suffering a stroke in January 2006. Solana also recalled that he had a number of difficult meetings with Sharon, from the time period when he was personally involved in efforts to advance the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, based on the Quartet road map.

Solana was questioned by Twitter users as to how he learned of this news, and he replied that he was informed by friends in Israel. Reporters investigating the veracity of the story were told by Tel Hashomer Hospital that news of Sharon’s demise were incorrect, and that Solana had been misinformed.

When first presented with news of the hospital’s denial of Sharon’s death, Solana stood by his version of events, claiming that his source was a high-ranking Israeli official. Eventually, though, he apologized for the error.

Spanish media outlets noted that this was not the first time that Solana had blundered over Twitter since he opened his account in February 2011. Some time ago, he announced the death of two Spanish soldiers in Afghanistan before an official announcement was made by the Spanish Defense Ministry.

This is not the first time that erroneous reports of a famous person’s passing have circulated over Twitter. In 2009, Britney Spears’ account was hacked and announced that she had died. In other instances, the deaths of various celebrities were reported, though there was no ill will behind the rumors.

The CBS network ended their relationship with the show What’s Trending after the show’s host tweeted about reports that Apple chief Steve Jobs had died in September, about a month before he actually died. Reports of the premature deaths of Harrison Ford, Miley Cyrus and Jackie Chan have also made the rounds on Twitter.
 

קראו כתבה זו בעברית: חאווייר סולאנה "הרג" בטעות את אריאל שרון בטוויטר