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Magic Johnson Coma Hoax

Summary:
Email claims that basketball player Earvin "Magic" Johnson is in a coma due to AIDS related complications (Full commentary below.)



Status:
False

Example:Submitted via email, 2003.
(CNN) -- Former L. A. Laker Earvin "Magic" Johnson is in a coma tonight at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles and is not expected to live. Johnson, 44, is suffering from complications related to HIV, and internal bleeding, a spokesman for Johnson's attorney told CNN. "His eyes are open, but it's just a dead stare. He could go any day now," said the spokesman, who asked that his name not be used. Johnson was last seen publicly on July 27 in Los Angeles when he hosted "A Midsummer Night's Magic", a charity basketball event at the Staples center. The 6ft - 9in. Johnson, three-times voted the NBA's most valuable player, was admitted to the intensive care unit last weekend under another name. A hospital spokeswoman refused to confirm reports Johnson was a patient there.

A press release submitted to media outlets on Sept. 17 announced Johnson's new production company had signed a multimillion-dollar Hollywood movie deal with Warner Bros. Pictures. Johnson, the NBA star-turned-entrepreneur, co-founded Magic Hallway Pictures in July with producer Paul Hall, whose credits include "Higher Learning" and the 2000 remake of "Shaft." Hall could not be reached for comment.

On November 7, 1991, Johnson stunned the sports world when he announced he had tested positive for HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, during a routine physical exam. Johnson also announced his retirement from basketball but returned in 1992 and again in 1996. He turned his enthusiasm and leadership skills to business. Among his successes, he developed movie theaters and shopping malls in poor and neglected sections of large cities where no one else would invest.

In September 1991, just before he learned he had HIV, Johnson wed longtime friend Earletha "Cookie" Kelly. The couple had a son in 1993 and adopted a daughter in 1995. Johnson also has a son from a previous relationship who lives near his estate. Ever optimistic, Johnson believed that the right combination of medicine, diet, and exercise would help him to survive until a cure for AIDS was found.

Johnson's physicians announced in early 1997 that the AIDS virus in his body had been reduced to undetectable levels. They attributed the improvement to the use of powerful drugs, including protease inhibitors. His wife Cookie gave the credit to God stating, "The Lord has definitely healed Earvin. Doctors think it's the medicine. We claim it in the name of Jesus." The Johnsons attended the West Angles Church of God in Christ, to which he donated $5 million in 1995. Calls to the Lakers front office were not returned.




Commentary:
In spite of the claims of the above hoax email, famous basketball player, Earvin "Magic" Johnson is alive and well.

The hoax email, which masquerades as a CNN news story, claims that Johnson is in a coma and not expected to live. However, Mr. Johnson has been seen and photographed out and about promoting his business interests AFTER this spurious news story began circulating in September 2003. This sort of activity is quite difficult for a dying man in a coma.

It appears that the perpetrator of this hoax has simply produced a regurgitated version of a legitimate CNN news story involving the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. The hoaxer has substituted "Earvin "Magic" Johnson" for "James Earl Ray" and modified details to fit.

Write-up by Brett M.Christensen