Ray Price’s battle with pancreatic cancer is coming to an end, his family has confirmed. But earlier on Sunday, news sources too numerous to count erroneously posted that Price had died, with many splashing the headline across home pages and social media.
The story snowballed after Price’s son, Cliff, wrote on Facebook that he had “heard” his father had passed. “I believe it,” he wrote. Later, he took the post down and said he had been “deceived by some cruel people.”
On Facebook Price’s wife, Janie, insisted the singer was not gone and said friend and country radio figure Bill Mack would release information on the singer’s condition when appropriate.
But even after Cliff Price took the initial message down, sites large and small ran with their obituaries for the “Crazy Arms” icon. Typical lead paragraphs said matter-of-factly that Price had died in Texas surrounded by family, but did not cite how they knew this information. The website for Nashville’s biggest newspaper took their lengthy story down and replaced it with a correction. Others updated their stories, many with digs at Price’s son.
Ray Price’s son prematurely reported the musician’s death. RS has spoken with his wife, our story is updated here: http://t.co/IxcrDniJFu
— Rolling Stone (@RollingStone) December 16, 2013
UPDATE: Country singer Ray Price’s son released a statement on his death prematurely, says his wife http://t.co/HRdTvRqIC4
— Huffington Post (@HuffingtonPost) December 16, 2013
At 7:00 p.m. CT, Mack issued a statement confirming that Price is still alive, though near death.
- As of 7:00PM, the great Ray Price is still with us, although obviously fading from the cancer. This was verified by Janie Price less than an hour ago (6:00PM, Central). Just wanted to release this “update” because so many of you have issued your concerns. Thank you! It’s been a long day since Janie called me this morning notifying me of his “failing condition”, but I’ve had the opportunity to observe hundreds of caring, loving messages. What a deserving compliment to Ray. Spoke with Willie Nelson. As he said, “I’ll bet Ray is laughing … although he’s a bit sleepy!”
An hour later, Mack updated fans once again:
- Just another input at 8:00 PM, Central: Ray is still alive, thank God. Many of you have apologized for forwarding news of his “passing”. Don’t feel foolish or idiotic! Many announcements were made of Ray’s death by various important avenues in the media because they had received the false information. It is very normal to “forward or “post” such news. It was just another bit of evidence that you love Ray and his music! Janie and the family are grateful for your precious love and concern. I’ll continue to post you on any “changes”. Thank you for being there. You’ll never realize your value.
Billboard will keep you posted on Price’s condition as information becomes available.