A lot of people write their own obituaries before they die or have them written beforehand so they can approve of them.
Celebrities have even been known to send these obituaries to magazines and other publications ahead of time so they can be published at the time of their death.
Some publications will even pre-write the obituaries themselves, so they can publish them before another magazine or newspaper without taking the time to write them up.
People Magazine accidentally published the obituary of Kirk Douglas before his death and has been getting a lot of criticism for the mistake.
The article was published online and even had the heading “DO NOT PUB Kirk Douglas Dies.”
— In Touch Weekly (@intouchweekly) December 1, 2014
"Kirk Douglas, one of the few genuine box-office names to emerge just as TV was overtaking American culture in the years right after World War II, died TK TK TK. He was 97 (DOB 12/9/1916) and had been in good health despite having suffered a debilitating 1996 stroke that rendered his speech difficult," the obituary read.
— BBC News US (@BBCNewsUS) December 1, 2014
Kirk Douglas is not dead and probably doesn’t appreciate a online article saying that he is.
— Toronto Sun (@TheTorontoSun) December 1, 2014
The article included more information about Kirk’s life as well as photos. It was online for a fair amount of time before the mistake was caught and the article was taken down.
— STN Entertainment (@STN_Entertain) December 2, 2014
People has not released a statement or a public apology about the article or explained how it got published.