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:
Too afraid to click on this pic.twitter.com/ww3jKib28Q— Marieke Hardy (@mariekehardy) December 18, 2016
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":
2016 took Lemmy, Bowie, Prince, Snape... I see "Keith Richards" trending on FB.— Micaél Chrimbus (@MichaelPallante) December 18, 2016
"Happy Birthday Keith Richards!"
When I saw Keith Richards trending on FB I had to check. If being honest, though Zsa Zsa was already dead— Lori M (@PokerVixen) December 18, 2016
When I saw Keith Richards was trending, my first thought was WTF 2016? But it's okay. He's still alive *phew*— N.R. Walker (@NR_Walker) December 18, 2016
I saw Dame Judi Dench & Keith Richards trending. Got scared given 2016. It's their birthdays. #phew— Lin (@Lin_Dolin) December 18, 2016
Saw Keith Richards trending. Knowing 2016 I was like noooooooo— Dr Al (@drdralal) December 18, 2016
It was his birthday.
This guy is immortal
That moment when you see Keith Richards trending and have a mini heart attack.— Brick Top (@TheAngelaOfOz) December 18, 2016
Nearly had a heart attack when I saw Keith Richards trending because of his birthday. The man's immortal, but 2016 doesn't give a damn.— Tyler (@Tytanium76) December 18, 2016
Facebook had Keith Richards trending and for a second I thought 2016 had finally killed the un-killable. (FYI, its his bday).— Natalie Boero (@natalieboero) December 18, 2016
Anyone else panic when they saw Keith Richards trending?— Jeff E. (@JedadiahLeland) December 18, 2016
Super relieved to learn "Keith Richards" isn't trending on Facebook for the reason I immediately thought. Because 2016 ain't over yet.— Andrew Fleming (@flematic) December 18, 2016
To be fair, several fans weren't even worried for a second:
If you saw Keith Richards trending and got worried, stop it. Nothing can kill Keith Richards. Not even 2016.— Curt Bennett (@CurtBennett) December 18, 2016
Happy birthday Keith!
Most people you see trending and you think "oh no... 2016 sucks" - Keith Richards trending and you think "happy birthday"— Paul Steckler (@bricin) December 18, 2016
When you see that Keith Richards is trending and it's the only name that doesn't panic you, because well, it's Keith Richards. LOL— Questergirl (@questergirl) December 18, 2016
Saw Keith Richards trending and I wasn't even remotely worried that he died. That dude's like a cockroach, he'll survive nuclear fallout.— Ryan Broems (@ryanbroems) December 18, 2016
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.