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11 year old told huge lie and can't tell me why

My son told his friends his brother was killed - he doesn't have a brother and never did, although he would have loved to have a sibling. I found out on his IM site and asked him why but he got very distressed and was more worried about his friends hating him if they know he lied. I told him never to mention it again but have seen he has mentioned it again recently to a friend. I am worried about why he would do this and how I can ensure it goes no further.