(PIX11) — A man in the background of a selfie taken in Brazil is not the late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, but a doppelganger with an interesting story of his own.
After Reddit user TheHorseSizedDuck posted the photo with the caption “Steve Jobs is in Rio de Janeiro, alive,” it brought out conspiracy theories that Jobs, who died of Metastatic Insulinoma in 2011, had somehow decided to escape to South America and trade his trademark black turtleneck for a slightly wilder wardrobe choice (or, at first glance, full sleeve tattoos).
The man, who certainly bears a striking resemblance to the beloved Apple CEO, is actually an American transplant living in Rio named Andy Hahn. In 2006 at age 45, Hahn was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a disabling disease of the nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord that affects the voluntary movement of muscles, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. He generally prefers camouflage over basic black, and blogs about being a hunter with a disability.
Valleywag received an email from Hahn, who said he was the photobomber:
I ain’t Steve, but I am in Rio. And alive, dammit!
That photo was taken last Sunday (August 3) afternoon when my aide Luiz and I were strolling/rolling along Avenida Atlantica in Copacabana. Some nut on a skateboard whizzed past us, and Luiz said, “I think we were in the photo that guy just took.”
“Did you stick out your tongue?” I asked.
“No, I made a mean face.”
Contacted by PIX11, Hahn said he often gets mistaken for Jobs.
“About four years ago I was waiting in line in a bank in Rio when a woman murmured something to my aide (I’ve needed 24/7 physical assistance since 2008),” Hahn wrote in an email. “He shook his head, she left, and he asked me, ‘Who is Stivvy Zjobbess?’ That was the first time anyone ever mentioned a resemblance. After that I noticed more and more people doing double takes on the street. It’s really funny when people think they recognize a face they’ve seen in the media, but can’t quite pinpoint where. They approach timidly and ask my aide, ‘Is he famous?’ ”
Hahn learned about the original Reddit post from a friend who’s daughter spotted it and never expected it to go much further. A short time later, a former coworker shared the link to the Valleywag post via Facebook, and then Hahn’s wife sent him a link to a similar writeup on a Brazilian website.
“When I saw comments declaring the photo an obvious fake, I decided to speak up,” Hahn said.
Before ALS forced him to retire, Hahn worked as a writer, editor and photographer for Sport Fishing Magazine. He said he’s enjoyed his 15 minutes of Internet fame.
“ALS has wrecked my body, but I never allowed it to cripple my sense of humor,” Hahn said. “My wife, family, friends and I are all getting a good chuckle out of this, although it’s not how I expected my 15 minutes of fame to come about.”
Just don’t expect Hahn to spill any secrets about the iPhone 6.
“Nothing against Apple, but I’ve always used a PC platform for writing and email, and I’ve never owned a cell phone,” Hahn said.