Given that it is still 2016, arguably the worst year on record since the Second World War, it is perfectly understandable if, upon seeing the name Keith Richards under Facebook and Twitter's trending stories this morning, you felt your stomach sink just a little bit.

Believe us, you are not alone — based on Twitter's general response to seeing it, most of the internet had the same thought process you did. Take, for example, Marieke Hardy, who tweeted her fear at finding out more about why old mate would be making headlines all of a sudden:

And why wouldn't you be? We've lost a bunch of musical and other entertainment legends this year, miserable shitfest that it was. Even just this morning (AEST), it emerged that retired screen icon Zsa Zsa Gabor had passed away at the age of 99 — a hell of an innings in its own right, and it bears mentioning that this story comes with absolutely no disrespect intended to the departed —  so it only stands to reason that if any 12-month period could claim the Unkillable Keef, it would be 2016.

But no. It is, thankfully, a false alarm in this case. Defiant to the last, the veteran Rolling Stone remains alive and kicking, and is only in the news because it was his 73rd birthday on 18 December. Which, all things considered, is actually a remarkable feat and deserves to be recognised with parade-level celebrations, because who expected Keith Richards to survive to 73 years old? 

Behold the relief being experienced by pretty much everyone who saw the words "Keith Richards" as a general topic of discussion and immediately thought "Oh, God, not again":

To be fair, several fans weren't even worried for a second:

Still, even though we've been granted this reprieve for now, and apparently immortal as he may be, there are still two weeks of this year left, so everyone form a protective circle around Keith Richards immediately, please. We genuinely don't think our hearts could take it if anything were to happen to him now.