A graveyard in Sweden.
A graveyard in Sweden.

A pensioner in southern Sweden was recovering in hospital when he was shocked to read his own obituary in the local newspaper.

Sven-Olof Svensson, 81, of Jönköping was admitted to hospital on Christmas Eve.

His 90-year-old sister talked to the doctor on the telephone, and through a misunderstanding, gained the impression that her brother had died.

With the help of a friend, Lars Fältskog, she began writing an obituary for her brother that was published in the local Jönköpings-Posten newspaper on New Year's Eve.

When Fältskog visited the hospital on 3 January to pick up his friend's personal items, he was astonished to find him sitting up in bed, very much alive.

"You can see the humour in it. It's understandable to me that there may have been a mistake even if it was fatal in this case," Svensson told the paper that only weeks earlier had run the obituary.

He added; "My sister rang up the doctors and talked about me and, as she understood it, I had died. It's clear that she was shocked," he said.

When asked how he had felt when reading his own obituary, Svensson said: "You don't feel much.

"We are all on the same road. Sooner or later you are going to end up in the obituary section. I've lived a fantastic long life, I'm 81 and can't complain about my age."

It is said that Swede Alfred Nobel, who made his fortune in explosives, was inspired to create the famous prizes for humanitarian, artistic and scientific endeavour that today bear his name after reading his own mistakenly published obituary, which described him as a man whose inventions had helped kill thousands.