This morning I got a frantic Gchat from a friend asking: “Is Mark McGrath alive??” After a brief perusal of Twitter I confirmed that, yes, the Sugar Ray frontman is still with us, and reassured her that there’s still a chance we’ll get a chance to hear “Every Morning” live at some reunion show down the line.
But unlike a lot of celebrity death hoaxes, this one was possibly perpetrated by McGrath’s own camp. Here’s a snippet from the apparent “press release” that was sent around to select journalists this morning:
Musician Mark McGrath has died at the age of 46. McGrath was on set filming the second season of entertainment show Hot Package, when he was confronted by a masked gunman and shot several times. The former Sugar Ray frontman died in the arms of his co-host Derrick Beckles on the Hollywood set of the show. In honor of Mr. McGrath’s legacy, his team is asking in liu [sic] of flowers, fans post a Sugar Ray Selfie, holding a packet of sugar over their heart. #RIPMARKMCGRATH
The email address the release was sent from linked to an L.A.-based PR firm. So, according to the hoax, McGrath happened to be on the set of his new show and died in the arms of his co-host. Hmmm, total coincidence that the show debuts tomorrow night, right? McGrath of course denied the rumor along with any involvement on Twitter:
Final word on the death hoax thing, I knew nothing about it and found out the same time you did…sorry about any confusion
— mark mcgrath (@mark_mcgrath) February 26, 2015
So was the hoax a ploy to put a spotlight on him before he launches the new season of Hot Package on Friday at 12:30 a.m.? McGrath says no and Adult Swim also denies any involvement:
This press release did not come from Adult Swim and is not part of any network PR or marketing campaign for the show Hot Package.
Honestly, I had never heard of Hot Package period. Maybe I’ll watch it tomorrow.