FACT CHECK: Jet Li death hoax

Claim: Jet Li passed away on Saturday, May 26 at age 55.

The blog phnewspride.blogspot.com in their May 25 post (a day earlier than the supposed date of death of Li) claimed that Li has been “in and out” at Matilda International Hospital in Hong Kong since August 2007 and has been “permanently confined” on February 12 this year until his death on Saturday.

The blog post was shared by 3 different Facebook pages and groups which have a total number of 451,875 followers. Within these groups, this claim has generated 702 total interactions.

The same claim was also published by urbandistro.com.

Rating: FALSE

The Facts: Li is still alive.

Rappler checked credible news organizations for any reports or public statements from Li’s side claiming that he was in a hospital or that he has passed away and found none.

It is true, however, that the 55-year old actor is suffering from hyperthyroidism and “spinal problems.” A photo of the actor posted by a netizen online generated a lot of concern among fans about the status of his health.

Following these concerns, Li posted on Facebook last May 23 a photo-compilation of him captioned, “I would like to thank all my fans who expressed concerns about my health. I'm doing great and feeling great! I'm excited to share with you all a few projects I am working on in the near future. For now, thank you all for your concerns!”

In an article published by the USA Today on May 21, Li’s manager, Steven Chasman, cleared to the public that Li is “completely fine” in response to Li’s viral photo of him looking sick. Chasman, who said that the actor has been dealing with hyperthyroidism for 10 years now, explained that the photo was just taken at a “bad angle.”

The actor just taught the benefits of Tai Chi at Chengdu as part Taijizen Institute’s course on May 18 according to his Facebook post on the same day. Taijizen Institute is a lifestyle and wellness company co-founded by Li and Alibaba Group chairman Jack Ma.

Li is not new to hoaxes. In 2016, a rumor went viral claiming that his hyperthyroidism was worsening and is need of a wheelchair. The Straits Times debunked the claim on July 27, 2016.

The next year, the Billings Gazette, Madison, and the Journal Times also debunked the claim in their “Not real news roundup” (all three articles are from the Associated Press).

According to the American Thyroid Association, Hyperthyroidism (not to be confused with hypothyroidism: underproduction of thyroxine) is an illness caused by an overactive thyroid over-producing the hormone thyroxine. Thyroxine “speeds up” bodily functions which leads to weight loss (due to metabolic boost), irritability, skin thinning, anxiety, hand tremors, fatigue, etc.

It can also result to various complications such as heart and eye problems and brittle bones.

The blog phnewspride.blogspot.com has a history of posting false and scandalous reports such as its May 26 post saying Vice President Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo is “loveless” and its April 26 post saying 6 African lawyers have “offered to defend” Duterte at the International Criminal Court (ICC).

The blog does not have a profile nor a masthead. – Miguel Imperial / Rappler.com

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