According to the Internet Conspiracists, Avril Lavigne is Dead. Again.

Oh, Internet. You can be so wonderfully looney, especially when it comes to propagating weird rumours and theories. You want fake news? Sit down, kids, and let me tell you a story.

One conspiracy that keeps coming back says that Avril Lavinge committed suicide in 2003 and was replaced by a lookalike in the same way a fake Paul McCartney took over for the real one after the true Macca blew his mind out in a car crash sometime in late 1966 or early 1967. (Another summary can be found here.)

Let’s recap. The story goes that Avril died in 2003 at the age of 19, about a year after she released her debut album, Let Go, and shortly after the death of her grandfather. Bereft by the loss and unable to deal with the pressures of being famous, she took her own life. Or maybe it was a snowboarding accident. Whatever the case, she “died.”

But with a second album needed, the People Behind Avril hired a woman named Melissa Vandella to take her place. She was already close to Avril, the story goes, because she’d been working as a body double as a way to get paparazzi away from the real Avril. Or maybe it has something to do with this picture from a photoshoot.

Since then, the story goes, every Avril Lavinge album from her second record, Under My Skin has featured Melissa-as-Avril.

Whoa! Suggestive title! And what’s the red X on the cover? That definitely means that the real Avril is gone, right?

  • Other clues pointing to a cover-up include:
  • Darker lyrics, including lines like “The truth comes to me and I’m living a lie” (from “Together”).
  • Google listed the “real” Avril has being 1.58 m tall. Now it says she’s just 1.55 m.
  • Changes in her jawline, eyes, location of birthmarks, tattoos, fashion sense and handwriting.

So who’s behind this? We can start with a Brazilian blog called Avril Esta Morta (Avril is Dead). Several years ago, the blog began pointing out suspicious inconsistencies in the singer’s looks. Avril’s skin didn’t look quite right. This, however, while not a hoax, was an exercise designed to show how easy it is to start an Internet conspiracy. When BuzzFeed ran a story on the blog, it accidentally amplified the false claims.

The latest resurrection of the story comes courtesy of a Twitter user–a 17-year-old high school student, allegedly–who’s been detailing the theory in a long thread. Retweets are now beyond 250,000.

Relax, kids. She’s fine. Yes, Avril has been dealing with Lyme Disease since 2015 and she’s still dealing with the fallout from her divorce from Nickeback’s Chad Kroeger. She is, happily, still very much alive. This just another in a long line of celebrity death conspiracies.

And what does Avril/Melissa think about that? She’s reported to be “mildly amused.”

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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