- A spokeswoman for the jail authorities in northeastern Catalonia said McAfee was found dead in his cell at the Brians 2 penitentiary near Barcelona, “apparently from suicide.”
- McAfee’s lawyer, Javier Villalba, said the anti-virus software pioneer died by hanging because he was depressed after nine months in prison.
- John McAfee was in jail in Spain since his arrest in Barcelona in October 2020.
John McAfee, a British-born American technology entrepreneur, committed suicide in a Barcelona prison on Wednesday after the Spanish high court approved his extradition to the United States on tax evasion charges, according to his lawyer.
McAfee’s lawyer, Javier Villalba, said the anti-virus software pioneer died by hanging because he was depressed after nine months in prison.
McAfee, 75, stated in court last month that if convicted in the United States, he would spend the rest of his life in prison due to his age. “I’m hopeful the Spanish court will see the injustice,” he said, adding “the US wants to use me as an example.”
McAfee had been on the run from US authorities for years, spending some of that time onboard a megayacht. In Tennessee, he was charged with tax evasion, and in New York, he was charged with bitcoin fraud.
According to a Spanish police source, the colourful tech founder was detained on Oct. 3 at the Barcelona airport as he was ready to board a trip to Istanbul on a British passport.
Before developing the world’s first commercial anti-virus in 1987, McAfee worked for NASA, Xerox, and Lockheed Martin. In 2011, he sold his software company to Intel and no longer worked for the company. His name is still on the programme, which has 500 million users worldwide.
The Spanish High Court agreed on Wednesday to extradite McAfee to the United States. A 75-year-old American man who was awaiting extradition was found dead in his cell on Wednesday, according to the regional justice department. Prison officials are looking into the cause of his death.
McAfee may still appeal his conviction, but Villalba claimed he couldn’t face any more time in prison.
Villalba stated, “This is the result of a brutal system that has no reason to hold this man in prison for so long.” Because of McAfee’s death, US prosecutors are likely to petition the court supervising the tax evasion case to dismiss the charges.
McAfee admitted in 2019 that he had not paid income taxes in the United States for eight years due to ideological reasons. He fled the United States that year to avoid charges, spending much of his time on a megayacht with his wife, four huge dogs, two security guards, and seven workers.
He proposed to help Cuba avoid a US trade embargo using cryptocurrencies and sought to run for United States President for the Libertarian Party.
McAfee, who claimed to have fathered at least 47 children in 2018, spent several years in Belize. He escaped police after being sought for questioning in the 2012 murder of a neighbour. They eventually concluded that he was not a suspect.
He met his wife, Janice McAfee, when she approached him while he was on the run and offered him a job as a prostitute, he said.
In a Sunday Twitter post, Janice McAfee claimed, “Now, the US government is determined to have John die in prison in order to punish him for speaking out against corruption in their government agencies… He will never have a fair trial in the United States.”
McAfee was a frequent user of Twitter and other social media platforms, with over a million followers.
In 2013, he uploaded a profanity-laced video to YouTube mocking the difficulty of removing software bearing his name from PCs.
On Wednesday, a number of bitcoin supporters from around the world sent out condolence tweets. McAfee’s most recent public tweet, dated June 18, stated: “All power corrupts. Take care which powers you allow a democracy to wield.”