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- On Jan. 9, Lynette "Diamond" Hardaway’s death was announced. No cause of death was given.
- In the following weeks, Twitter users speculated that the 51-year-old died from COVID-19.
- Those rumors persisted even after Jan. 23, when The Associated Press reported that Hardaway’s death certificate made no mention of the virus.
When conservative media pundit Lynette "Diamond" Hardaway’s death was announced Jan. 9, social media users speculated that she had succumbed to complications caused by COVID-19.
Hardaway and her sister Rochelle "Silk" Richardson of North Carolina rose to fame for enthusiastically supporting former President Donald Trump on their internet video show "Diamond and Silk." They also downplayed the seriousness of the pandemic and cast doubt on the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines.
Trump said on Truth Social Jan. 9 that Hardaway’s death was "totally unexpected," speculating that her "precious HEART just plain gave out."
Multiple unvaccinated conservative pundits have died from COVID-19, which medical professionals have linked to heart problems. And until a cause of death emerged, Twitter users jumped to the conclusion that Hardaway, 51, did, too.
Richardson didn’t release the cause of Hardaway’s death, but she pushed back on the idea that her sister died from COVID-19.
The Associated Press on Jan. 23 obtained Hardaway’s death certificate and reported that Hardaway died of heart disease because of chronic high blood pressure. The AP shared the certificate with WRAL and PolitiFact.
Hypertension, mentioned on the certificate as a contributing factor in her death, accounts for about half of all heart disease-and stroke-related deaths worldwide, according to the World Heart Federation.
COVID-19 can cause myocarditis, or inflammation of the heart muscle, which can lead to heart failure and arrhythmias. But the death certificate, obtained by the AP from the Hoke County Register of Deeds and signed by a local doctor, didn’t list COVID-19 as a contributing factor.
Since the certificate was released, Richardson has peddled the falsehood that vaccines administered to other people could have affected Hardaway. PolitiFact NC submitted a request for comment through Diamond and Silk’s media network and received no response.
Twitter users claimed Hardaway died from complications caused by COVID-19.
We found no confirmation that she caught the virus, and her death certificate makes no mention of it.
With no verifiable evidence to support this rumor, we rate it False.
Post by former President Donald Trump on Truth Social Jan. 9, 2023.
WRAL, "'A true patriot:' Celebration of life for political commentator Lynette Hardaway brings Trump to NC," Jan. 21, 2023; "What Fox News' silence about 'Diamond & Silk' says about the network," April 8, 2020.
NBC News, "A trio of conservative radio hosts died of Covid. Will their deaths change vaccine resistance?" Sept. 3, 2021.
Associated Press, "‘Diamond’ of pro-Trump commentary duo dies of heart disease," Jan. 23, 2023.
PolitiFact, "Debunking the anti-vaccine hoax about ‘vaccine shedding’," May 6, 2021.
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