To day a decision of a Spanish court in favor of his extradition has been made public, John McAfee died in a prison cell outside Barcelona. The anti-virus pioneer turned fugitive was 75 years old.
McAfee had been detained in Spain since last fall, when he was arrested on allegations of tax evasion. The US Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission added to these charges in March, charge of McAfee and an associate on several counts linked to two cryptocurrency systems that are said to have lasted for years. He could face decades in prison if convicted on all counts.
Security guards at Brians 2 Penitentiary found McAfee dead in his cell on Wednesday; in a statement provided to The Associated Press, the Catalan government has indicated that McAfee committed suicide. A request for comment from the Catalan government has not been returned at press time.
“Confirmation came from our legal team in Spain that John was found dead in his prison cell. I am saddened to learn of the events and my prayers go out to his wife, Janice, ”McAfee attorney Nishay K. Sanan said in a statement. “He tried to love this country, but the US government made it impossible for him to exist. They tried to erase it but they failed.
After a youth spent in Roanoke, Virginia, and a string of short-lived jobs, McAfee made his fortune in antivirus software. He founded McAfee Associates in 1987; its eponymous product was among the first of its kind. As detailed in a WIRED 2012 profile final, McAfee was inspired by the spread of Brain, one of the first computer viruses to hit PCs around the world. He left a job at Lockheed to start a home-based business; within a few years, McAfee antivirus had become ubiquitous. In 1992, he took the company public. Two years later he left it, tens of millions of dollars more than when he started.
For the remainder of the ’90s and into the 2000s, McAfee seemed to follow a similar arc as other tech success stories of the early years. He founded a yoga studio, he started an instant messaging business, he wrote a few books. But as Joshua Davis wrote in 2012, McAfee lost a significant amount of money when the economy collapsed in 2008, and he decamped to Belize that year. His behavior there became more and more alarming; he fashioned himself as a vigilante, hiring guards and buying guns, and building a mysterious laboratory on his vast compound. In November of the same year, authorities in Belize called McAfee a “person of interest” in connection with the death of his neighbor. McAfee fled.
In the years that followed, McAfee rebranded himself as a pioneer and provocateur of cryptocurrency. He promoted various plays on his active Twitter feed, allegedly highly paid to do so behind the scenes. The SEC further accused McAfee of running a parallel “pump and unload” program, in which he and his associates allegedly loaded a niche coin, urged people to buy it on social media, and sell on the frenzy that result. McAfee intended to fight the charges, according to Sanan.
That says something about everything that has happened in McAfee’s life that his two attempts to run for President of the United States – he garnered some support in the 2016 Libertarian primaries – are just a note. footer. Or that in 2017, the man whose name is synonymous with antivirus was legally prohibited to mention “McAfee” in the context of cybersecurity, as part of an agreement with Intel, which acquired the company in 2010 for nearly $ 8 billion.
John McAfee’s life was full of complications; his heritage is one of the zeniths and nadirs, and in every way he was singular.
If you or a loved one is having thoughts of suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
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