It's not news that media organizations often keep obituaries of older famous people on file: In 2003, The New York Times ran an obituary of actor and comedian Bob Hope under the byline of Vincent Canby, the paper's former film critic, who died in 2000.
So the fact that Reuters let slip an obituary of someone who isn't dead, while remarkable, is not the strangest thing about this story; rather, what's so noteworthy is the wire service's harshly critical presentation of Soros's life, which doesn't seem in keeping with their usual style.
Here's a screenshot of the obit's first few paragraphs:
The obituary goes on to explain that Soros, who is Jewish and was born in 1930, "survived World War Two and then emigrated to Great Britain," where he "landed his first job in the financial industry largely through pure stubborn chutzpah."
Soros's philanthropy is said to have "been marked as much by his personal journey as by the needs of the communities he set out to serve."
And the article ends, after having mentioned an insider trading penalty and an unsuccessful bid to acquire the Washington Nationals baseball team, by observing that "these failings stand out in the life of this remarkably successful Hungarian-American financier, philanthropist and thinker, in contrast to his stubborn refusal to fail in virtually every other venture."
Reuters tweeted that the obituary had been wrongly published, and withdrawn:
Reuters published an obituary of George Soros in error. Reuters withdrew the article as soon as it appeared.- Reuters Top News (@Reuters) April 18, 2013