French Mime, Marcel Marceau passed away last night, his family revealed.
Sources close to the octagenarian artist suggested that he may have been dead for over five weeks before the rank smell of his decomposing corpse alerted family members to his demise.
"We just assumed that he was practising the mime of death that he had planned to add to his classic Seven Ages of Man routine, " a bereaved relative explained.
The mix-up was very reminiscent of an incident in 1972 when Marceau performed the man-trying-to-walk-in-a-strong-wind routine for three weeks before passers-by realised that his shoes had been superglued to the floor by his mime artist arch rival Jacques Jouvert as a practical joke.
Marceau's Thursday funeral will be attended by Mimes from across the world. City Centre stores are anticipating a bumper day of trading as they are mime-free for one day.