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Alive: Jean Charest
Alive: Jean Charest
Image: Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press/Press Association Images

Quebec premier says he's not dead after hoax report

Jean Charest joked that he was forced to look in the mirror to make sure he was still there after reports of his death emerged online.
Aug 17th 2011, 12:44 PM 188 0

THE PREMIER OF the Canadian province of Quebec has been forced to deny reports that he has died.

Jean Charest has laughed off what’s now been established as a hoax story that appeared on a French-language website early on Tuesday morning.

The newspaper Le Devoir has apologised and filed a police complaint after a bogus story stated Charest had died of a heart attack at the University of Montreal hospital on Tuesday, the Toronto Sun reports.

The website was forced to shut down completely as technicians worked to change the story which they were not immediately able to do leading to the reports of the death being carried on Twitter and even appearing on his Wikipedia entry.

Such was  the concern amongst Charest staff about the reports, a spokesman said two hours after it initially appeared that Charest was alive and asleep at his home, BBC News reports.

A media conference was called for Tuesday morning to assure journalists and the public that the premier was in good health.

The Globe and Mail reports that Charest, who is known for his sense of humour, laughed off the incident: “(When I heard the news) I was working out. I hurried to go look in the mirror to see if I was still there.”

He also noted it wasn’t the first time he’d been written off: “This isn’t the first time Le Devoir announces my death – but it’s the first time they’ve covered it from this angle.”

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Hugh O'Connell

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