Sunday afternoon, news raced through media outlets and the Internet that country music legend Ray Price had passed away at age 87. The problem was, it wasn’t true.
Shortly after the reports, new information began to surface that the “Crazy Arms” singer, who is suffering from pancreatic cancer, was “fading” as of yesterday, but that news of his death had been premature—prompting many major media outlets to publish corrections and retractions.
How did this happen? As proof of how public social media really is, the incorrect (and subsequently corrected) information was mostly disseminated via Facebook. According to Billboard, Price’s son Cliff first posted the erroneous information on the country singer’s Facebook page that he’d heard his father had passed. He soon retracted that statement, removing the post and replacing it with another one, saying he had been “deceived by some cruel people.” However, that first post was sufficient for the story to spread rapidly, being picked up by both local and national media outlets, many of whom didn’t source the information or verify the facts.
Not long after the erroneous story broke, Price’s wife Janie posted on Facebook that the information was not true, and told Rolling Stone, “He is still with us.” She further stated that country radio personality and family friend Bill Mack would be publicizing updates as available. At this point, the information stream seemed to stabilize as Mack posted on Facebook that Price was still alive, but “fading rapidly,” according to doctors.
As of this morning, here is the latest information on Mack’s Facebook page:
I just completed a telephone call with Janie Price at 10:15PM, Central. She said Ray’s condition is still in a “coma” mode, is not expected to improve. However, I will have my phone next to the bed constantly … if I decide to “crash-out”. She, or someone at the house, will call if there are any changes that need to be posted. I have spoken with so many of Ray’s peers, all so concerned about the “Chief”. That, and the hundreds of responses from you people, has made me realize the true value of friends. Yes, it’s been a day filled with hurt, but for a purpose: Love, concern … and prayers for Ray’s family. God bless you, thanks.
Ray Price’s musical career has spanned more than sixty years, generating such hits as “Crazy Arms,” “Release Me” and “For the Good Times.” He was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1996. He is reportedly currently surrounded by family and friends at his home in Mt. Pleasant, Texas.