On social media site Twitter, hashtags can begin trending for a number of reasons - sometimes it’s in response to a real piece of news, and other times it’s just everyone on the internet sharing a massive inside joke.
On Tuesday 18 August, the hashtag #RIPEminem started trending, leaving fans of the rapper confused and worried.
Here’s what happened.
Is Eminem alive?
As far as everyone is aware, Eminem (the stage name of rapper Marshall Mathers) is alive and well.
No one from Mathers’ management, his friends or family have released any news about the musicians passing, and he was recently active on social media.
Mathers posted on Twitter on 10 August, urging his followers to vote for his friend Sway for a Music Format On-Air Personality award. On 7 August, he also posted on his Instagram account about how the UFC 4 soundtrack is now available to listen to, which he features on.
Why was #RIPEminem trending?
It’s currently unclear why the hashtag initially began trending. It may have been triggered by a now suspended Twitter account which tweeted the message, “I have killed eminem.”
The account had posted several dozen tweets with the #RIPEminem hashtag, and other users may have started taking notice.
A popular joke on Twitter is to declare a celebrity dead and to post humorous tweets grieving for them with photos of other celebrities who vaguely look like the celebrity they say have died.
This also happened on the #RIPEminem hashtag, with users posting images of celebrities like Ellen DeGeneres, Justin Bieber and Machine Gun Kelly.
What have fans said?
Jokes aside, the hashtag was also used by fans of the rapper who were confused and relieved that he has not died.
One person tweeted, “Why is #ripeminem trending he is alive stop doing this it’s 2020 aka the worst year of all time.”
Another wrote, “Saw #ripeminem and damn near had a f***ing emotional breakdown.”
“I actually believed this one, i hate y'all #ripeminem,” tweeted another.
Has Eminem responded to the hashtag?
As it stands, neither Eminem nor his team have responded to the trending hashtag.
The trend comes after the rapper recently celebrated 12 years of staying sober. He posted his 12 year chip on Instagram on 21 April, with the photo gathering over one million likes.
In the caption, he wrote, “Clean dozen, in the books! I’m not afraid.”
The rapper has talked openly about his relationship with addiction in the past, detailing in his 2013 documentary How To Make Money Selling Drugs that he thought he was “going to die.”
He revealed that his addiction to prescription drugs like vicodin, xanax and valium from 2002 to 2008 was so overwhelming that his organs began to shut down. In 2007, he suffered from a methadone overdose which proved nearly fatal - an event which prompted him to get clean.