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No, Vanessa Bryant has not died by suicide

Has Vanessa Bryant, wife of late basketball player Kobe Bryant, died by suicide?

That’s the claim on a page published on the site on 17 February 2020, and shared on Facebook. 

It shows what seems to be a video, credited to BBC News, under the headline: “BREAKING NEWS: 'VANESSA BRYANT' WIFE of 'KOBE BRYANT' Recorded her SUICIDE After Depression Attack this Morning”.

The video preview shows a photo of Bryant, with an inset of a noose. The text reads: “RIP Vanessa Bryant 1982-2020”.

Kobe Bryant in fatal helicopter crash

Vanessa Bryant married internationally renowned professional basketball player Kobe Bryant in 2001. Kobe Bryant played for the Los Angeles Lakers, a US National Basketball Association team, for 20 years. 

In January 2020 Kobe Bryant, their daughter Gianna Bryant and seven other people were killed in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, USA.

Video redirects again and again

When the “video” on Vanessa Bryant’s apparent suicide is clicked, it doesn’t play. Instead, it redirects to a similar page on another website, this time reporting that Natalia Bryant, one of the Bryants’ surviving daughters, has also died by suicide.

The video on this page does play. A news presenter is shown, then the video stops and text appears: “Warning: this video may show graphic content (18+) share to continue watching.” 

When the video is clicked again a pop-up screen invites users to share the page on Facebook.

No BBC News report on Bryant suicide

The page shows a number of signs of a hoax.

The claim is attributed to BBC News but there is no evidence on the BBC website of them ever having aired or published the story. The most recent BBC News report on Vanessa Bryant, from 11 February 2020, was about her “refusing to accept” the deaths of her husband and daughter.

Searches for a BBC News report on Bryant’s suicide return articles from a number of websites debunking the claim as false.

There have been no official reports of Vanessa Bryant’s death. – Naledi Mashishi


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