While he was in London, someone started a rumor that he was gravely ill. This was followed by another rumor that he had in fact died. According to a widely-repeated story, a certain major American newspaper actually printed his obituary.
When Twain himself was told about this by a reporter, he famously quipped: “The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.”
Ironically, a similar story has unfolded yet again in England. According to a November 13, 2019 article written by Nicole Darrah, an English newspaper has now apologized for publishing an obituary about someone who, to their surprise, is still quite alive.
A news outlet based in Northeast England titled The Northern Echo reported that a man named Charlie Donaghy, which it described as a “lifelong fan of grassroots sports” in the region, had passed away. The obituary detailed Donaghy's “tireless devotion to a range of sports clubs, associations and charities,” explaining that he had spent much of his life teaching geography and physical education.
According to the paper’s staff, they apparently “checked with three independent sources” to confirm the man’s death.
They soon learned, however, that nothing could have been further form the truth! They were, therefore, dead wrong! In short order, the paper issued an apology, wherein it stated “We are pleased to be able to report that Mr. Donaghy is alive and well. We removed the story from our website and social media channels as soon as we were made aware that it was incorrect.”
The Echo's staff added further that they wished to “apologize unreservedly for our mistake, and for any understandable distress and devastation that was caused to Mr. Donaghy, his family and friends.”
They likely did so in response to family members of Donaghy's, who went straight to Facebook to right the wrong, posting: “Today the Echo ran a beautiful tribute & obituary about my Dad. But...Dad’s NOT dead! To everyone offering condolences about my Dad...Charlie! He’s NOT dead! This is NOT true... God knows where it’s come from but he’s alive & well.”
Alongside their apology, the paper at fault also published a statement from Donaghy's family that read, “We are devastated by the inaccuracy of this report. This has caused immeasurable distress for my sister, as well to many of Dad’s friends and supporters over the years. To allow this to be released onto the Internet without checking with our family is unforgivable. Please ensure this never happens to anyone else again as you cannot unhear or unread that your father is dead.”
For my part, I’m glad to know that Mr. Donaghy is alive and well. May he live a long and full life for many more years to come - even as Mark Twain himself earlier did, having gone on to live another thirteen years beyond his own purported death.
As I read this story, I was reminded of yet another individual that the world once assumed was dead and gone. His name was Jesus Christ. He was put to death by crucifixion on a Friday. His execution was witnessed by a significant number of people. He was then taken down from the cross and place in a tomb. From the world’s perspective, he was dead and gone. But they too, were dead wrong!
For three days later, He came back to life! He literally arose from the grave! And thereafter, according to the Apostle Paul’s First New Testament Letter to the Corinthians (chapter 11, verse 6), upwards of five hundred people testified that they personally saw Him; and that He was quite alive and well!
What is more, untold billions of people have added to that their own personal testimony of having come to know and experience the risen Jesus.
Perhaps the hymn writer, Alfred H. Ackley (1887 – 1960), put it best when he penned these memorable lyrics…
I serve a risen Saviour; He's in the world today. I know that He is living, whatever men may say. I see His hand of mercy, I hear His voice of cheer, And just the time I need Him He's always near.
He lives! He lives! Christ Jesus lives today! He walks with me and talks with me along life's narrow way. He lives! He lives! Salvation to impart! You ask me how I know He lives? He lives within my heart.
His last stanza is particularly insightful…
In all the world around me I see His loving care, And though my heart grows weary I never will despair. I know that He is leading, thro' all the stormy blast; The day of His appearing will come at last.
I hope that you to have come to know Jesus Christ. For He is indeed alive and well. And one day, He will come again. When He does, those who know Him will be overjoyed to see Him face to face.
But those who do not know Him will not be so jubilant. For He has already forewarned us that His response to those who meet Him then for the first time will be: “Depart from me, for I never knew you.”
STORY SOURCE: https://www.foxnews.com/world/england-newspaper-obituary-still-alive. Nicole Darrah covers breaking and trending news for FoxNews.com. She can be followed on Twitter at @nicoledarrah.
SEE ALSO: http://www.thisdayinquotes.com/2010/06/reports-of-my-death-are-greatly.html.
HYMN LYRICS: https://www.greatchristianhymns.com/he-lives.html.
SCRIPTURE SOURCES: https://biblehub.com/1_corinthians/15-6.htm; and