Silk of ‘Diamond and Silk’ didn’t say blood clot killed sister

January 24, 2023 GMT
FILE - Lynnette Hardaway, left, and Rochelle Richardson, a.k.a. Diamond and Silk, arrive at the LA Premiere of "Death of a Nation" at the Regal Cinemas at L.A. Hardaway. Richardson did not blame Hardaway's death on a blood clot in the lung, despite rumors online. (Photo by Willy Sanjuan/Invision/AP, File)
FILE - Lynnette Hardaway, left, and Rochelle Richardson, a.k.a. Diamond and Silk, arrive at the LA Premiere of "Death of a Nation" at the Regal Cinemas at L.A. Hardaway. Richardson did not blame Hardaway's death on a blood clot in the lung, despite rumors online. (Photo by Willy Sanjuan/Invision/AP, File)

CLAIM: Rochelle “Silk” Richardson, half of the conservative talk duo “Diamond and Silk,” attributed her sister Lynette “Diamond” Hardaway’s death to a blood clot in the lung during Hardaway’s memorial service last week.

AP’S ASSESSMENT: False. A recording of Richardson’s remarks at the event contains no mention of blood clots. Hardaway died of heart disease caused by chronic high blood pressure, not a clot in her lung, according to her death certificate.

THE FACTS: News of Hardaway’s death reached fans on Jan. 9 via the “Diamond and Silk” Twitter account, fueling waves of speculation about what killed the 51-year-old commentator.

Richardson’s remarks at Hardaway’s memorial were streamed by the conservative Right Side Broadcasting Network over the weekend, leading some on social media to mischaracterize her words.

“Silk reveals Diamond died suddenly from what appears to be a blood clot in her lung,” wrote one conservative commentator on Twitter on Saturday.

The tweet included a clip from Richardson’s speech in which she describes her sister’s last moments. After Hardaway became unable to breathe, Richardson recounts, she and her husband performed CPR until paramedics arrived.

“I saw how it happened. I was there when it happened. And it happened suddenly,” Richardson says in the clip.

Richardson makes no mention of blood clots. Hardaway’s family has not spoken publicly about the cause of her death, though internet users have floated both COVID-19 and the COVID-19 vaccine as potential reasons.

However, COVID-19 was not listed as a cause or contributing factor on her death certificate, which was provided to the AP by the county register and was signed by a local doctor. Instead, the death certificate lists heart disease due to chronic high blood pressure as the cause. No autopsy was performed.

Richardson could not be reached for comment. Inquiries sent to the contacts listed for “Diamond and Silk” were not returned.

The phrase “died suddenly,” which Richardson used repeatedly in her speech, is often used by vaccine skeptics to suggest that a person was killed by a COVID-19 shot. But vaccine complications are very rare, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Many of the examples used to prove the shots are dangerous rely on bad science, misinterpreted data and individual incidents misleadingly stripped of context.

Hardaway and Richardson gained popularity first on YouTube and then as commentators on Fox News. After the two spread falsehoods about the COVID-19 pandemic, including that the virus was man-made and that the rising death toll was a hoax, the cable network dropped them, the AP previously reported.

This is part of AP’s effort to address widely shared misinformation, including work with outside companies and organizations to add factual context to misleading content that is circulating online. Learn more about fact-checking at the AP.