Sometimes a shocking story can set the internet jungle drums beating overtime in a matter of minutes, even if it isn't actually true. So was the case with Friday's rumour that circulated widely on all the major dance music forums regarding the 'godfather' of house music, Frankie Knuckles.
Thanks in no small part to RA, word spread fast that the veteran DJ had recently had his leg amputated due to complications arising from his known diabetic condition. The sincere messages from well wishers poured in, despite the lack of an official source of this story. It seems that the dramatic, all too painful irony of hearing that one of clubland's most celebrated heroes may have lost the ability to dance was enough to propel this rumour around the world.
Now Frankie himself has stepped in and published the true version of events.
Stating that he is "an intensely private individual" who "doesn't take kindly to having to explain myself," the DJ put the rumours to rest, revealing that in July he in fact had a foot amputated due to a bone disease contracted after breaking it a decade ago. The condition was beginning to spread, making surgery a lifesaving decision.
Shortly after the initial accident in 2000, Frankie was on crutches to collect his Lifetime Achievement gong at the inaugural UK Dancestar awards. He has suffered regular painful symptoms ever since, but has toured the world without the issue ever being known be the legions of music lovers he's entertained.
"I just wish that instead of someone opening a forum about it here online, that I would've been trusted well enough by everyone to know that I would make a statement about it," he reflects, before highlighting his commitment to getting fit again and "back to where I need to be, on a dance floor with you."
Messageboard gossip can be quite a problem for DJs, with the likes of Carl Cox, Boy George and Fergie having had to publicly scotch rumours of their own death in the past. And the spreading of unfounded "news" is not just restricted to the public forums either. A couple of years ago, DJ Magazine caused a minor international incident by erroneously claiming that Harry Choo Choo Romero had been kidnapped in Columbia, while Lebanese newspaper Ya Libnan found itself in hot water last year for reporting a hoax story about Tiesto receiving terrorist death threats before a gig in the country.
With today's proliferation of user-generated content and as-it-happens news reporting, it's probably best to remain cautious over sensational reports from any source until they can be verified. The positive result on this occasion was to see Frankie receive so much love from so many music fans, and RA too wishes him a speedy recovery and return to the DJ booth.