According to CBS News, officials in Arizona's Maricopa County said Horner's body was found in his bed inside his Phoenix home on September 18. The Maricopa County medical examiner said there were no signs of foul play, and that there was evidence the death could have been caused by an accidental overdose.
In an interview with The Washington Post past year, Horner even claimed that his fake news helped Trump get elected as president. "Anybody who gets tricked by my stuff is people that I'm targeting, trying to make them change the way they think".
"His followers don't fact-check anything - they'll post everything, believe anything", Horner said, according to The Hill.
Another suggested former President Barack Obama was a radical Muslim.
Horner unapologetically made up fake stories that frequently went viral, perhaps most famously one with the headline, "Donald Trump Protester Speaks Out: 'I Was Paid $3,500 To Protest Trump's Rally'".
But despite claiming some credit for his victory, Horner was a self-proclaimed hater of Trump who wrote his fictional stories in hopes of "messing with the campaign" and to prove "people are definitely dumber [today]", according to the New York Post.
He created fake stories for his website National Report that were likely to find a believing audience.
At the time of the election, Horner claimed to be making more than $10,000 per month just from Adsense ads on his stories. "But Trump supporters - they just keep running with it! They never fact-check anything". Looking back, instead of hurting the campaign, I think I helped it. "I see certain things wrong in society that I don't like". But CEO Mark Zuckerberg said the social network wouldn't be able to catch everything.
"I didn't even think about it".
Horner, for his part, said that he invented and planted fake news stories as an expression of "satire".
"So I think that was a lot of the genius behind a lot of his work was pushing ideas that either people wanted to believe or thought was possible", JJ said, adding that his brother wasn't a Trump supporter.