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MIAMI, Florida (AP) - Fans of the Muppets were stunned to here this week that Muppet actor Kermit the Frog was reported to have "croaked" over the weekend by the Everglades Times. The paper also reported that he had been fighting a severe stomach illness. This was corroborated by his appearance on Late Night with Conan O'Brien last week, where Kermit severely and repeatedly vomitted during his appearance in a sketch for the show. The report in the Times soon spread across the world after several prominent news web sites pointed it out. Some papers speculated that the globetrotting Muppet might have contracted the lethal SARS illness spreading throughout Asia and into the United States.
However, this appears to be an overeaction on the part of of the Times, at least according to Kermit's publiscist and nephew Robin the Frog. In a statement released by Robin from Kermit's winter home in the Everglades, he states that Kermit is alive and well; he merely croaked rather loudly. The vomitting on Late Night was staged after Kermit took some ippicac. Robin expressed his disdain for the Everglades Times and announced his uncle's intensions to sue the newspaper.
Word spread of Kermit's passing throughout the United States and the rest of world. A session of the United States Senate was halted for a moment of silence in his honor. Filming on the popular children's show Sesame Street paused. Coaltion troops fighting Iraq heard the news from embedded reporters and some were reported to have been weeping profously. Pope John Paul II planned to hold a candlelight vigil at the Vatican this evening. Prayers were left for Kermit at the Wailing Wall in Israel. Mullahs at the Islamic holy sites of Mecca and Medina planned special sermons for Friday in praise of the Muppet actor. At press time, global reactions to the news refuting the reports of Kermit's death were unavailable. This has not been the first brush with controversy for the Muppets in recent years.
This has been a difficult three years for the extended Muppet family. In 2000, the company that handles the Muppets and their properties, The Jim Henson Company, was purchased by a German media firm. This firm was in fact a front for the German Neo-Nazi Party and this only became public after the Muppets working on Sesame Street refused to film a corporate-mandated sketch entitled "Great Moments in the Life of Adolph Hitler." In late 2001 after the tragedy of September 11, Sesame Street actor Bert was arrested by the FBI and imprisoned at Camp X-Ray at the Guantanamo Bay base in Cuba after photos surfaced of Bert attending a conference of al-Qaeda leaders, including Osama bin Ladin. Then, in February 2002, Miss Piggy stunned the nation when she announced that she was seeking a legal separation from her husband Kermit the Frog. She was later seen in the arms of Kermit's longtime friend Fozzie Bear as the two left the New York Friar's Club. In August, in an interview with ABC's Barbara Walters, Muppet superstar Elmo disclosed that he was fighting Attention Deficit Disorder and could only read at a first grade level. In the same Barbara walters special, Cookie Monster annouced that he had been fighting an eating-disorder for the last 30 years. In recent months, Muppet actors Ernie, Scooter, Rolf, and Big Bird all signed a petition with many other celebrities denouncing the war in Iraq. Tensions on the set of Sesame Street reached a boling point when a fight broke out between Big Bird and pro-war Muppet Oscar the Grouch. Both actors were suspended from the show and their scenes were reshot with new Sesame Street actors Dominar Rygel XVI and Pilot, both recently let go from the canceled Sci Fi Channel show Farscape.