CBS retracts tweet reporting Steve Jobs’ death, but not before the rumor spreads

If you heard a rumor that Steve Jobs had passed away earlier today, you weren't alone.

"What's Trending," a CBS News show "connecting you to stories and people heating up conversation online around the world," sparked a firestorm on Friday, reporting on its Twitter feed that the ailing former Apple chief executive had died. "Reports say that Steve Jobs has passed away," the tweet read. "Stay tuned for more updates."

That tweet, published shortly before 3 p.m., was removed within about a minute, and a subsequent apology was issued--but not before it was widely disseminated on Twitter and elsewhere on the Web.

"Reports of Steve Job's death completely unconfirmed," a tweet on the CBS feed read. "Live on."

Shira Lazar, the show's host, issued a second apology: "On behalf of all of us [...] we sincerely apologize for the inaccuracy that was tweeted earlier today."

"Right now the Internet's quaking with speculation about Steve Jobs' possible death—all sparked by a single tweet," Gizmodo's Sam Biddle wrote. "But rumors from news desks and people dumping AAPL stock are making us wonder: is this it? We really hope not."

Jobs--who was treated for pancreatic cancer in 2004--stepped down as CEO of Apple on Aug. 24, prompting renewed concerns about his health.

"I have always said if there ever came a day when I could no longer meet my duties and expectations as Apple's CEO, I would be the first to let you know," Jobs wrote in a letter to Apple's board of directors. "Unfortunately, that day has come."