ABC News' Tony Scott Report Erroneously States 'Top Gun' Director Had Inoperable Brain Cancer

08/21/2012 08:48 am ET | Updated Aug 21, 2012

On Monday, ABC News erroneously reported that "Top Gun" director Tony Scott, who jumped to his death from a Los Angeles bridge over the weekend, had inoperable brain cancer (see update below).

As Poynter noted, the report, which cited "a source close to [Scott]," was then picked up by multiple news outlets, including The Huffington Post, Vanity Fair and People.

Deadline Hollywood challenged the ABC News report that aired on "Good Morning America," stating that "Tony Scott’s widow Donna has told police that the famed filmmaker/TV producer did not have brain cancer, informed insiders tell Deadline."

ABC News updated its original report, changing the headline and cited the Assistant Chief Coroner as stating that Scott's family was unaware that the director had cancer. "ABC News was unable to reach Scott's family to confirm the assistant chief coroner's statement," the story reads.

ABC News has been in some hot water as of late for running with unconfirmed reports too early. During its breaking news coverage of the tragic mass shooting in Aurora, Colorado last month, Brian Ross incorrectly suggested the shooter was linked to the Tea Party.

UPDATE: An ABC News spokesperson said the network is still trying to verify its initial report:

ABC News continues to report the most recent facts on, including our previous reporting and the conflicting statement from the coroner. ABC News is attempting to reach Scott's family to confirm the assistant chief coroner's statement. After speaking with the family or a representative of the family we will update our reporting accordingly. If it comes to light at that time that incorrect information was reported, ABC News will issue a full retraction and apology.

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