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Michael Phelps Dead? 'RIP Michael Phelps' Trends on Twitter in Confusion with Death of Westboro Baptist Fred Phelps

Travelers Today       By    Katie McFadden

Updated: Mar 20, 2014 03:13 PM EDT

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Michael Phelps isn't dead.(Photo : Reuters)

Michael Phelps is dead. At least that's what the Internet is saying. However the gold medal-winning Olympic swimmer didn't die. He's just the victim of an Internet death hoax and a possible mixup over the death of Fred Phelps, the man who started the Westboro Church.

There seems to be some confusion on Twitter that the Olympic champion passed away. Michael Phelps didn't die, but Fred Phelps, the preacher who started the Westboro Baptist church did die at the age of 84 in Topeka, Ka. The cause of his death is not clear. Fred Phelps was known for protesting military funerals and was very anti-gay.

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Some took to Twitter to discuss the death of the controversial pastor only using the name "Phelps" which may have led some to believe that the "Phelps" in discussion was Michael Phelps, and not Fred Phelps.

"Michael Phelps RIP" became a trend on Twitter  among the confusion, leading some to discuss the swimmer's death even further. Some examples of these tweets include:

"RIP Michael Phelps I hope you are swimming with Jesus now"
"RIP Michael Phelps. smoked too many bongs."
"rip michael phelps, now you know what happens when you do marijuana"
"RIP in Peace Michael #Phelps. You were an excellent swimmer and will be missed."

Some were also well aware that the wrong Phelps was being discussed, but continued the trend as a joke. Others thought that Fred Phelps may be related to Michael Phelps.
"Rest in peace, Michael Phelps dad. #rip #phelps"
"hey @MichaelPhelps sorry your dad died"
"RIP Michael Phelps' Grandpa"

Michael Phelps is not dead and although they share the same last name, the Olympian has no relation to Fred Phelps. Although he claimed to retire from Olympics, Phelps recently appeared in an episode of "Suits" and has starred in some Subway sandwich commercials.


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