Did a Canadian actor die after getting plastic surgery to “look Korean”?

We came across the following post on Instagram:

Posted by TMZ, a tabloid news organization owned by Fox Corporation on their official Instagram page, the post claims that an actor, Saint Von Colucci had died after spending a considerable amount of money to look like K pop artist Jimin from the band BTS for an upcoming series.

According to the article on their website, Von Colucci had 12 operations to transform his look so he could play Jimin in a tv show, including jaw implants, a nose job, a face-lift, lip reduction, an eyebrow lift and an eye lift, among others.

Following his jaw implant surgery, Saint’s publicist said he developed an infection and had to go into surgery again in order to remove said implants. Unfortunately, the procedure did not go as planned, he had to be intubated and ultimately died hours later. In addition to TMZ, the story had also been published by the Daily Mail, AsiaOne and The Independent.

When we conducted a search on the claim however, we were unable to find any information on Von Colucci, which is perplexing considering that his death was reported on various international publications and he was slated to be cast in an upcoming US drama series. There was no mention of his acting career online as well, raising questions on the legitimacy of the “actor”.

Additionally, visiting Von Colucci’s apparent Instagram page according to Al Jazeera, we found very blurry photos of the supposed actor with strange artifacts present in the images. In at least one picture, his hands in the images appeared deformed – a sign that the images were likely AI-generated.

Searches for HYPE Public Relations, the PR agency that had allegedly distributed the press release on Von Colucci’s passing were similarly inconclusive. The domain name had been registered in March 2023, with no information present on their website aside from a picture of their “logo”.

Based on the various red flags, notably the lack of evidence to show that Von Colucci even existed, with the traces of information we could find on him being likely edited or fully AI-generated, we rate the claim that Saint Von Colucci had died getting plastic surgery to “look Korean” as an elaborate hoax and most likely false.

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