Last Thursday, the online world mourned the death of David Rose, a deaf and quadriplegic blogger with cerebral palsy who entertained the masses with his humorous posts. The 24-year-old Anaheim, Calif. man had a huge following on his blog, Facebook and Twitter. He was in the hospital fighting pneumonia when he was “whisked away by angels” on Oct. 11, according to a tweet posted by his sister Nichole to his account. Nichole Rose included a link to a farewell letter from her brother, theCHIVE reported.
“Always do what is right. Always! But forgive yourself if you forget sometimes,” an excerpt from the letter reads. The touching note even moved Kim Kardashian to tweet the blogger’s words of wisdom.
There was only one problem: it was all a hoax.
Shortly after Nichole Rose reported her brother’s death, a suspicious reader named Kristi-Anne delivered a scathing exposé of both Nichole and David Rose, starting with the fact that the photos on David’s social media accounts appeared to have been of another man with cerebral palsy, Hunter Dunn. She also discovered that most of David Rose’s tweets were posted from TweetDeck, an application used to manage multiple social media accounts; David Rose, who claimed to be posting online using a Tobii eye tracking system, would not have been able to use that program. Bloggers from theCHIVE also conducted their own investigation, which included hiring a private investigator and scanning a database of death records. There was no record of David Rose’s death.
Following Kristi-Anne’s report, which speculates that the person behind David Rose was a pedophile who used the account to get close to sympathetic young women, Nichole Rose responded to the post in a series of revealing comments on the blog.
David was just a character, a part of my psyche, and fame would soon reveal what it has revealed today. So, the character passed. In hindsight it probably would have been better just to shut it all down and have everyone wonder what the hell happened, but the final post was meant to have the effect it did. To inspire people to love and live a better life, and the public knowledge that it came under this false pretense takes it all away. I hope that people who were moved by it still live by it, but it seems unlikely.
I realize how people must feel now and the truth is, I hate myself every bit as much as you all must hate me. I know no one cares how I feel, but I just want to stress that I’m not some smug, self-righteous bastard with a “oh shucks, I got caught” attitude.
But the comments went further — the blogger behind “David Rose” revealed that “Nichole Rose” didn’t exist, either.
There is no conspiracy here, just a guy with a twisted psyche who realizes he’s caused a lot of damage and now needs to try to figure out how he’s going to live with himself.
Who is this guy? Well, as contrite and ashamed as I am, I don’t have a death-wish, at least not yet. Getting close though. I have no desire to have the shambles of my life completely ruined over this.
The unnamed (male) blogger went on to insist that his motivation was neither celebrity nor fame and apologized repeatedly over the course of a 1,192-word confession.
On a final note I’d like to let everyone know that on the evening of the fictitious David’s passing, I came home and sobbed through the night. I mean absolutely wailed and shed more tears than I’d ever had, for hours on end. Not at the character’s passing or the fear that I’d soon be found out, but rather, it was strictly a “what have I DONE” scenario, deeply set in remorse and awareness of the emotional hurt that has been caused.
To all of those people affected, from those I’d never exchanged a word with to the ones I’d had lengthy and heartfelt conversations with over the years, I apologize.
Whoever the unidentified blogger is, he is probably wishing he had practiced what he preached to David Rose’s nearly 16,000 Twitter followers.