Albert Stalk wants to set the record straight. He’s not dead, despite what some content farms online are reporting. The renowned ironworker recently got wind of the fake news after his son reached out to say he had seen something odd online.
“My son said somebody in India is using my information to sell something,” said Stalk, best known for his climb up the Eiffel Tower in 1990. “I don’t know what the hell is going on.”
Depending on which article you read, Stalk died either by suicide or peacefully by the side of his family members after a long battle with a Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS), a rare genetic disorder. These articles began appearing on content farm websites earlier this spring, often without any byline.
“On April 15, 2023, the world was shocked to learn that Albert Stalk had passed away at the age of 63. But what caused the death of the fearless ironworker? And why was his demise kept so hidden from the public eye?” reads one published last month on the website doms2cents.com.
“The famous climber passed away and lots of people who liked him are really sad. But nobody knows why he died or when it happened yet. Officials and his family and friends haven’t said anything about it,” reads another from this May on the website celebily.com. “Sometimes when someone famous dies their family and friends don’t share a lot of information about it.”
If there’s been nothing shared by the family, it might also be because Stalk isn’t dead. Actually, he visited the office of The Eastern Door just last week.
“It says the family doesn’t want to divulge any information, to keep things private. Of course you’d say that,” he said.
Stalk, now 66, said the content farms also got his age wrong. Another article claims he’s a private person who rarely gives out interviews – another falsehood.
Stalk has appeared in many documentaries over the years, including multiple produced by the French docuseries Ushuaïa, also responsible for arranging his Eiffel Tower climb in 1990. APTN dedicated an entire episode to his life story as part of their 2016 series on Mohawk ironworkers.
None of the authors of the articles appearing on Google searches as of this March reached out to the family either, Stalk said. He said he’s become the butt of his friends’ jokes ever since.
“I was at a gathering. They said it says on the internet you’ve died. I said, ‘Well obviously I didn’t if I’m standing here in front of you!’ They were saying ‘We thought we lost you!’”
He said he thinks the authors – assuming the articles aren’t written by AI – are just writing clickbait so the owners of the sites can cash in on ad revenue.
The articles also only appeared on the web following his recent mention on the Joe Rogan podcast this spring, when he reacted to a video of Stalk at a high-altitude steel structure in the 1980s. “Look at him! The strength and the skill, along with the courage to be up there?!” Rogan exclaimed in an April 5 podcast. “This is insanity.”
Stalk said he doesn’t intend to contact the sites to demand they be removed. He didn’t seem too angry about the situation either, mostly just perplexed. The Eastern Door reached out to content farms as well as some of their authors for comment, but didn’t receive any response by publication.
The former ironworker said this is the second time rumours have swirled about him being dead. The first was just after the passing of his father, when the Royal Canadian Legion Mohawk Branch 219 got their names mixed up.
“I was posted dead before. My father passed away in 1997, and they had a sign on the door and it said Albert Stalk Jr., not senior! I walked in and I said, ‘If I’m laying there, I’m leaving!”