"Who told you that?" I asked. He mentioned a name of someone younger who'd gone to my high school. I decided that this was a quest best worth pursuing.
I called the person mentioned, an artistic Australian named Jennifer. She was glad to hear I was alive, and mentioned she'd heard the rumor from someone. Someone I didn't know. I asked for a number.
I kept following the rumor trail back, further and further. What did you hear about my death? From whom? What happened? I needed to find the source of the Nile.
I had no such luck. After two or three steps, the names were totally unfamiliar. Sometimes even fake-sounding. I couldn't find numbers, and the people involved had apparently disappeared and left no forwarding number.
Rumors are ambient. They coalesce where they wish.