Mark McGrath debunks death hoax, PR firm takes blame

Owen Sweeney/Invision/APMark McGrath of the rock band Sugar Ray performs on the Under The Sun 2013 Tour at The Electric Factory on Saturday

Owen Sweeney/Invision/APMark McGrath of the rock band Sugar Ray performs on the Under The Sun 2013 Tour at The Electric Factory on Saturday

It was a hot Hollywood mystery: Who killed Mark McGrath? The 46-year-old was murdered Thursday in grisly fashion — at least on paper.

The former Sugar Ray singer spent the day assuring fans that reports of his death had been greatly exaggerated after an overzealous PR stunt left the star and TBS pointing fingers.

“McGrath was on set filming the second season of entertainment show Hot Package, when he was confronted by a masked gunman and shot several times,” stated a news release that was emailed to media outlets Thursday and referenced an Adult Swim show.

“The former Sugar Ray frontman died in the arms of his co-host Derrick Beckles on the Hollywood set of the show,” the note continued. “In honor of Mr. McGrath’s legacy, his team is asking in liu of flowers, fans post a Sugar Ray Selfie, holding a packet of sugar over their heart. #RIPMARKMCGRATH.”

An untold number of sugar packets were sacrificed to McGrath’s “legacy” before media outlets realized that “lieu” is absolutely not spelled like that and questioned the report’s accuracy.

TBS, parent company of Adult Swim, swore it wasn’t to blame for the stunt and McGrath feigned ignorance (“I knew nothing about it and found out the same time you did,” he tweeted).

A few hours after the fictional shots were fired, the We Are Prismatics PR firm ’fessed up to the subterfuge.

“Mark McGrath and his team have had no involvement in or knowledge of the media alerts sent earlier this morning,” stated the company after hastily pointing out the singer was “alive and well in real life.”

NYONG’O DRESS STOLEN

Few dress thefts make international headlines, but few dresses are adorned with 6,000 gleaming pearls.

The frock actress Lupita Nyong’o wore to the Oscars on Sunday was swiped from her West Hollywood hotel room Wednesday night, according to The Associated Press.

The custom Calvin Klein Collection by Francisco Costa dress was worth $150,000. On Thursday, sheriff’s deputies were combing through security footage in search of any unusually sparkly characters. Nyong’o declined to comment on the theft.

QUICK TAKES

Mexican singer Ariel Camacho, 22, was killed Wednesday in a car crash after a concert, according to his record label. … The IRS has issued a $6.4 million tax lien against Robert De Niro.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY

Singer Josh Groban is 34. … Singer Chilli of TLC is 44. … Guitarist Neal Schon of Journey is 61. …Actor Howard Hesseman (“WKRP in Cincinnati”) is 75. … Actress Joanne Woodward (“The Three Faces of Eve”) is 85.Adult SwimdeadFeaturesGossipMark McGrath

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