Two things: Rocker Jon Bon Jovi is very much alive and, sadly, rocker David Bowie died earlier this week. The two facts do not seem to belong together in a story, but an odd mix-up at a Thailand news outlet did just that, causing a bit of confusion before the story was retracted.
Bangkok website BK reported January 11 that another Thai news outlet Thairath erroneously posted that New Jersey rocker Jon Bon Jovi had died, somehow mistaking the “Living On A Prayer” singer with English rocker David Bowie, who actually did pass away on Sunday after a long fight with cancer. In the article regarding Bon Jovi’s death, it referenced the Bon Jovi song “It’s My Life,” a hit that “many Thais know and love.”
The mistake was quickly discovered and the post corrected to honor David Bowie’s passing and achievements, said mistake did not go unnoticed, nor did it pass without generating scathing commentary from some readers. According to BK, Facebook became a repository for screenshots and angry comments like “if you don’t know who he is, how difficult is it to do a Google search?” and “Stupid Thai media can’t do a simple check before reporting” and “This is a disgrace to the legendary icon.”
Bangkok Coconuts shared another vitriolic post: “It’s my life? Seriously, motherf***er? If you don’t know, ask someone who knows or Google. There are thousands of answers for you.”
Unfortunately, Thairath wasn’t the only news outlet to mix up David Bowie’s death with another prominent news figure. Newsreader Fiona Winchester on Heart FM in the United Kingdom mistakenly announced that current Prime Minister David Cameron had died. According to the Daily Mail, she immediately realized her mistake, announcing that, instead of Cameron, it was the David Bowie that had passed away.
Still, to set the record straight, Jon Bon Jovi, international superstar and performer of such hits as “Wanted Dead or Alive,” is very much the latter. As yet, he has made no public statement concerning the death of David Bowie.
But Jon Bon Jovi has been the target of a celebrity death hoax before. Back in 2011, he took to his Facebook page to post a “proof of life” photo of himself standing in front of a Christmas tree after a blog post, using material from Michael Jackson’s obituary (per Rolling Stone), had reported that he had died. On a placard, the singer wrote: “Heaven looks a lot like New Jersey” and added the time and date.
David Bowie, however, died Sunday after combatting cancer for 18 months. As the Guardian noted, the British singing/songwriting icon was a creative force in fashion, music, film, music video, and pop culture in general. He was 69, celebrating his birthday (January 8) only two days prior to his death with the release of his latest studio album, Blackstar, which is reportedly a gift composed for his friends and fans.