Many news outlets reported on Sunday that rockabilly singer Jerry Lee Lewis died. At 81, it’s not that surprising. What is surprising, however, is that Lewis is actually still alive.
On Sunday, Aug. 20, the world lost comedic legend Jerry Lewis. However, the similarity of his name to Jerry Lee Lewis, famous piano player and singer of “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On” apparently prompted quite a bit of confusion.
Further befuddling the issue is the fact that the two were contemporaries in show business. Though the comedian was about 10 years older than the singer, they were both extremely popular in the 1950s. Jerry Lee Lewis even performed on Jerry Lewis’s popular telethon.
Several news outlets had difficulties with the similarities. CNN ran the wrong name in the headline of their obituary for Jerry Lewis the comedian. Google was still showing the error as late as yesterday afternoon.
My bad yall
The killer is still alive
Its Jerry Lewis, not Jerry Lee Lewis who passed away
Sorry bout that
Read the alert wrong
— Charlie Daniels (@CharlieDaniels) August 20, 2017
Even country singer Charlie Daniels sent out a tweet of condolences for Jerry Lee Lewis, which he later deleted and apologized for.
Jerry Lee Lewis III, the singer’s son, has been fielding condolences since the comedian’s death. He told Huffington Post, “There’s really been no confusion in the past. People knew one was a comedian and one was a singer. Well, until this weekend anyway.”
My father did not pass. Thank you for thinking of us though. The great Jerry Lewis, actor and humanitarian passed. Lord let him RIP
— Jerry Lee Lewis III (@JerryLee3rd) August 20, 2017
READ MORE: A History of Death Hoaxes in Country Music
There have been worse mix-ups in the past. In 2011 many media outlets reported the death of President Obama, after mixing up his name with terrorist Osama Bin Laden, who was famously taken out by Navy SEAL Team 6.
As proof of Jerry Lee Lewis’s continued life, his son posted a picture of the singer enjoying the eclipse with his grandson on Monday.
— Jerry Lee Lewis III (@JerryLee3rd) August 21, 2017
Tomorrow there will be a Jerry Lee Lewis tribute concert to honor the singer and his achievements. The event will stream live from Skyville Live in Nashville. The show features George Strait, Kris Kristofferson, Chris Stapleton and more. Jerry Lee Lewis himself will also be in attendance.