Sometimes obituaries have happy endings—like those in Wikipedia's List of Premature Obituaries. Most seem to fall into one of four categories:
- Jumping the Gun — As when the aging Bob Hope was reported dead on the Associated Press website in 1998, and then eulogized in the U.S. House of Representatives.
- Mixed Up Names — As when actor James Earl Jones was confused with recently deceased assassin James Earl Ray.
- Hoax — As when Britney Spears was reported dead by two Texas DJs.
- Technical Mistake — As when the CNN website killed off Fidel Castro, Dick Cheney, Bob Hope, Gerald Ford, Pope John Paul II, Nelson Mandela, and Ronald Reagan all on the same day.