Rumors went viral that Omar the ref has died from suicide. However these speculations have not been confirmed by any official sources.
Some fans have gone as far as creating fake gravestones and news reports based on the rumors. Many others have claimed that BBC News was the one who originally spread the rumor. Omar the referee or Omar the ref rose to prominence last week after a TikTok video of him catching a basketball resurfaced four months after it was originally uploaded.
Is Omar The Ref dead?
Tributes started pouring in for Omar on TikTok despite no statement of his rumored death by any of his close relatives, friends or manager. According to unverified reports, Omar decided to end his life due to cyberbullying after gaining fame.
One verified TikTok account claiming to be Omar posted two photo slideshows with report of his death. One was a gravestone reading: “Tyrone Johnson 1963 – 2023, he was such a happy person.” Another was a photo of a male lying in a hospital bed with a blurred face. However, the TikTok account only started uploading posts three days back. It has also posted a video claiming Omar has died.
A second video posted by the account featured a false BBC News tweet reading: “Famous ‘Omar the Referree’ commits suicide aged 47.” The name of the account, as well as the profile photo, do not match the legitimate BBC Twitter account. Moreover, BBC has not posted anything related to Omar’s death on their social media account.
Omar is a basketball referee from Baltimore, Maryland. He first made waves on social media in April 2023. An audience member filmed him catching a basketball at a youth game at the Spooky Nook Sports complex in Manheim, Pennsylvania, in a dramatic way. He effortlessly caught the ball and slowly turned to pose for the cameraman. The original video has garnered over 1.5 million views but reposts and edits have earned double the views.