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Barbara Bush not dead, CBS pulls obituary

Former First Lady Barbara Bush has joined a long list of famous people who lived to read their own obituary.

CBS News erroneously published Bush’s obituary Sunday afternoon after her family announced earlier in the day that she was in failing health and had been placed on hospice care after deciding not to seek further medical care.

The online CBS headline read “DO NOT PUBLISH – Former first lady Barbara Bush dies at age 92 DO NOT PUBLISH.” It was subsequently taken down.

The obituary read, “Barbara Bush, the witty, gregarious matriarch of a political dynasty that propelled two of its members to the White House and dominated Republican politics for decades, has died after a series of recent hospitalizations. She was 92. A Bush family spokesman said Bush passed away peacefully in her home, surrounded by loved ones.”

It’s standard fare for news outlets to prepare obituaries for prominent people in advance so they will have them ready when needed.

Over the last century there have been several cases of death announcments being prematurely published. Some of those include chemist Alfred Nobel (for whom the Nobel Prize is named), actor Abe Vigoda (who was subject of so many false death announcements that a website was eventually developed to tongue-in-cheek let the world know if he were dead or alive), Actor Sinbad (real name David Adkins, who was the subject of a death hoax), actor Scott Baio, P.T. Barnum, Beyonce, The Big Bang Theory’s Mayim Bialik, Jackie Chan and Fidel Castro.

Over 500 famous people have had their obituaries published prematurely. Bush may be the first husband and wife to separately be listed as deceased. Former president George H. W. Bush has been listed dead numerous times.

Premature obituaries have also been published for financier George Soros, Apple founder Steve Jobs, former Vice President Dick Cheney and Pope John Paul II.

Bush, 92, served as first lady during her husband’s term from 1989-1993 and is the mother of former President George W. Bush. She has been battling chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD.

Wishes for good health are now pouring into the Bush’s Houston home and offices.