Deaf man's goodbye message was a hoax

Alexandra Pleffer, ninemsn
11:19am October 15, 2012

A final farewell from a deaf quadriplegic that became an internet sensation last week has been uncovered as a hoax.

Last week a letter was posted on a blog, purportedly from a California man named David Rose with cerebral palsy who had learned he was going to die after falling ill with pneumonia.

The letter quickly spread online, and David Rose's Twitter account @daveonwheels drew massive attention, with some Twitter users offering to change their username to have "onwheels" at the end in his honour.

Media outlets around the world, including ninemsn, fell for the story - believing that David Rose was a real person.

But US website TheChive, which originally reported Rose’s death, uncovered yesterday that death records for the man with cerebral palsy couldn’t be found.

It soon became clear that the story of David Rose and his death from pneumonia were the inventions of an unknown online prankster, who had maintained the online identities since 2007.

The website also discovered that the man pictured on Rose’s Twitter account was actually named Hunter Dunn and lived in Virginia.

The person behind the hoax has not yet officially commented, but after the discovery a message was posted on Blogspot allegedly from the culprit.

The post said he was "just a guy with a twisted psyche who realizes he’s caused a lot of damage and needs to try to figure out how he’s going to live with himself".

He said he ended the deceit when Rose became famous and had intended the final post to be inspirational.

"No celebrity or fame was intended in this ruse; it all came quite fast and was a total surprise," he said.

"Up until recently he only had a handful of online friends.

"The quick and furious fame is actually what brought about the end of it all."

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