A French radio station published the obituaries of several prominent older people on its website on Monday.
Those memorialised included Clint Eastwood, Brigitte Bardot and the Queen.
It wasn’t long before readers began commenting that the last they had heard all these people were alive and if not kicking at least still managing to walk unaided most of the time.
Radio France Internationale (RFI) blamed a technical problem on their website.
“We offer our apologies to the people concerned and to you who follow and trust us,” the broadcaster said. “Our technical teams are mobilised to rectify this major bug and determine its cause and responsibilities.”
The problem occurred when RFI was moving its website to a different content management system, according to its statement.
Broadcasters and media outlets often prepare obituaries in advance in order to be able to publish them promptly when the person’s death is announced.
RFI said “around a hundred” of these draft stories were published in error, not just to its own site but to partner sites including Google, Yahoo and MSN.
French former minister and ex-president of Olympique Marseille Bernie Tapie is still with us at 77 but was also found among the obituaries.
However, seeing himself pronounced dead can’t have come as too much of a shock to him as his obituary has been published on at least two other occasions by other news outlets, according to the BBC.