The report of my death was an exaggeration.
-- Mark Twain
In September 1969, an article in the campus newspaper at Iowa's Drake University sparked the frenzied speculation that Paul McCartney might be dead. The rumor bedeviled McCartney for some time.
Last week's reports of Lil Wayne being at death's doorstep may have been exaggerated, but a similarly bedeviling, rumor-fueled mystery surrounds the circumstances of the rapper's hospitalization -- and was his health anywhere near as dire as initially reported?
On Friday, the TMZ celebrity news site reported that Wayne was in a medically induced coma and receiving last rites in Los Angeles. Twitter lit up, rumors multiplied, many clustering around an unsubstantiated claim that the cause of the hositalization was an overdose of prescription cough medicine. Wayne's publicist acknowledged Friday that Wayne had had a seizure, and friends of the rapper dismissed reports that he was near death.
Mack Maine, president of Wayne's Young Money label, tweeted Friday evening: "Dont believe the nonsense about comas and tubes to breathe ... that's false!!" An hour later, this message appeared on Wayne's own Twitter account: "I'm good everybody. Thx for the prayers and love."
TMZ eventually deleted the portion of its story referring to last rites.
The one constant in the reports from Wayne's hospital is that he suffered a seizure. In October, Wayne suffered seizures twice, on board two separate planes. In November, Wayne admitted to taking medication to prevent seizures.
During a Monday radio interview, Bryan Williams, co-founder of Cash Money Records, denied any drug use by Wayne: "It didn't have nothing to do with drugs. No such thing like that. It's how hard he works. How much dedication he gives to his music and his fans. It had nothing to do with drugs. No such thing like that, to me. It was nothing about no drugs. Just needs to get some rest and relax. He'll be back, normal, like everyone else."
Wayne reportedly was released from the hospital on Monday.
Wayne, born Dwayne Michael Carter Jr., now 30, is one of hip-hop's biggest stars, having sold nearly 13 million albums and 37 million digital singles. He has a new album, "I Am Not a Human Being 2," due March 26.