US & Canada

Quebec premier Jean Charest laughs off death reports

Quebec leader Jean Charest, file pic, March 2007
Image caption Mr Charest joked with reporters that he was actually "in fine shape"

The premier of the Canadian province of Quebec, Jean Charest, has laughed off a news website report saying he had died.

The report, posted by a hacker on the website of the Montreal daily Le Devoir, said Mr Charest had died of a heart attack.

Mr Charest said he had "hurried to the mirror to see if I was still there" after hearing of the report, The Globe and Mail newspaper reports.

Le Devoir has apologised and filed a complaint over the hacking with police.

Circulated quickly

"We offer our most sincere apologies to the premier. Measures are being taken to find the person responsible for this crime," the newspaper said on its website.

The report was on the website for an hour before it was deleted, allowing it to be quickly circulated via social networking site Twitter.

Two hours after it was posted, a spokesman for Mr Charest said he was in fact at his home asleep.

Speaking later, Mr Charest joked about the hoax, describing how he had checked that he was still alive after hearing the news.

"I was exercising at home. So I hurried to the mirror to see if I was still there... As you can see, I'm in fine shape," The Globe and Mail quoted him as saying.

He added that the paper had often written him off politically, but had never "covered it from this angle".

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