'He Did Not Die Because of a Vaccine': Late Journalist's Fiancée Refutes 'Died Suddenly' Rumor

Gary Detman, 53, died in April 2023. A rumor was promoted that said his death was caused by a COVID-19 vaccine. His fiancée called the rumor "false."

Published Jul 28, 2023

 (Sandy Collier/Facebook)
Image Via Sandy Collier/Facebook

On July 18, 2023, the dubious Twitter account known as Died Suddenly (@DiedSuddenly_) tweeted a screenshot of a news story that read, "Gary Detman, the digital news manager at South Florida CBS affiliate WPEC, died this week following a medical emergency." A second, smaller screenshot was added on top of the news story image that showed a Facebook post in which Detman had posted in 2021 that he had been vaccinated. In other words, the baseless implication made by the tweet was that Detman had died because of a COVID-19 vaccine.

As we've reported before, the account's name, Died Suddenly, references a false conspiracy-theory rumor that claims COVID-19 vaccines increase the risk of death.

A primary strategy of the Died Suddenly account has historically been to seize on any death reports that can be found in order to promote an anti-vaccine agenda, all while victims' family and friends are still very much in mourning. In return, the account's followers believe the baseless information, even after it's revealed the death wasn't related to the vaccine.

It's true that Detman, 53, was a digital content manager at WPEC-TV, also known as CBS 12 News, which is in West Palm Beach, Florida. His death on April 27, 2023, was announced on air the following day.

As for the Died Suddenly tweet that came later in July, Detman's fiancée, Sandy Collier, posted a response: "I am Gary Detman's fiancée, and your information is FALSE. Please do not use Gary's death for your agenda. Gary was a journalist who valued telling the truth; he fact-checked everything before putting it out to the public. Please remove this information from your platform."

Collier also said much the same in an email to Snopes:

Gary was an experienced journalist who valued truthful reporting. Spreading false information is harmful to everyone, particularly those who rely on accuracy. I want to clarify that Gary did not pass away due to the Covid vaccine.

On Facebook, Collier shared heartfelt thoughts about Detman for her followers, saying, in part, "I miss you. I am so grateful for the time God allowed us to spend together. I love you, babe. I KNOW you are at peace."

We previously reported about the hospitalizations and deaths of other individuals whose stories were twisted and never corrected by the "died suddenly" conspiracy theory movement, even after they learned they were incorrect about the assertions. Examples included the hospitalization of Claire Bridges, as well as the deaths of Lisa Loring, Callie Driskill, Lisa Marie Presley, and Antwun Echols, just to name a few.

If any of our readers are aware of family members or friends who know of people whose deaths have been misused by anti-vaccine accounts, feel free to contact us. If you do reach out, please include full names, key dates, and other important details that would benefit our reporting.


"Gary Detman." CBS 12 News,

Kasprak, Alex. "Did CDC Confirm That Thousands 'Died Suddenly' as a Result of COVID Vaccines?" Snopes, 20 Dec. 2022,

Liles, Jordan. "Boxer Antwun Echols' Cause of Death Was Complications from Diabetes, Not a COVID-19 Vaccine." Snopes, 19 July 2023,

---. "COVID Survivor Claire Bridges Sets Record Straight on Misleading Tweet About Her." Snopes, 24 Jan. 2023,

---. "No Evidence Lisa Loring's Cause of Death Was COVID-19 Vaccine." Snopes, 31 Jan. 2023,

---. "No Evidence Lisa Marie Presley's Cause of Death Was COVID-19 Vaccine." Snopes, 13 Jan. 2023,

---. "Wisconsin Mother Callie Driskill Died from ATV Accident, Not a COVID Vaccine." Snopes, 17 July 2023,

"Memorial." Hey, Sandy!,

Jordan Liles is a Senior Reporter who has been with Snopes since 2016.

Read More

a Member

Your membership is the foundation of our sustainability and resilience.


Ad-Free Browsing on
Members-Only Newsletter
Cancel Anytime