Lightfoot responds to death reports: 'I'm fine'

Canadian folk music icon Gordon Lightfoot said he headed to the dentist when he heard on the radio that he was dead.

Canadian icon Gordon Lightfoot said he was headed to the dentist when he heard on the radio that he was dead.

The folk legend, whose hits include If You Could Read My Mind, Sundown and The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald, took the news lightheartedly and was soon on the phone with Toronto-based all-news station CP24.

"I'm fine, everything is good. I don't know where it comes from. It seems like a bit of a hoax or something," the 71-year-old singer said. "I was quite surprised to hear [it] myself.

"I haven't had so much airplay on my music now for weeks."

The initial reports of Lightfoot's death appeared on Canwest news sites on Thursday afternoon, spreading instantaneously across many blogs and Twitter posts.

The report was discovered to be untrue within minutes of the news being posted.

B.C. Fiedler Management, Lightfoot's concert tour promoters, put out a quick statement proclaiming Lightfoot "is alive and in good health" and that the report was "false and completely without merit."

"This is just an unfortunate prank," said promoter Bernie Fiedler.

In fact, the singer's 12-city spring tour of Eastern Canada, Quebec and Ontario kicks off at the end of March starting in St. John's.

Lightfoot has been beset by health problems over the past few years. He suffered a ruptured artery in his stomach in 2002.

One report of the fake death attributed the news to fellow singer Ronnie Hawkins.

Hawkins says he heard the rumour through his management firm in the U.S., which told him that they heard it by phone from someone claiming to be Lightfoot's grandson.

"Oh what a dirty, sick joke that is, but I'm glad it was a sick joke and not the truth," Hawkins said.

With files from The Associated Press