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Antivirus software pioneer John McAfee dies by suicide in Spanish prison

Antivirus software pioneer John McAfee dies by suicide in Spanish prison

John McAfee, a pioneer in the field of antivirus software, was found dead in a Spanish prison. He was 75 years old. The American entrepreneur died by apparent suicide hours after the top court in Spain approved his extradition to the US, reported Reuters.

The Catalan justice department released a statement saying prison officials and medics tried to revive McAfee but were unsuccessful. The department said that the cause of death is being investigated even though everything points to suicide by hanging.

John McAfee is the creator of McAfee antivirus software. He was charged with tax evasion in the US and would have been subjected to a prison sentence of up to 30 years. He was arrested at Barcelona international airport in October 2020, while trying to board a flight to Istanbul.

During his trial in the Spanish court, McAfee said that the charges against him are politically motivated and if returned to the US, he will be spending the rest of his life in prison.

McAfee once told a British newspaper that his time in Spanish prison was a "fascinating adventure". His wife Janice, who was his main contact outside prison, said that despite his taxing experiences in the prison, "he is undeterred from continuing to speak truth to power".

John McAfee made his fortune in the 1980s after creating the antivirus. However, the entrepreneur is said to engage in erratic behaviour and paranoia in the latter part of his life. The company that still bears his name started distancing itself from the founder. He resigned in 1994.

He was arrested several times in different parts of the world for various reasons including driving under influence (USA) and carrying high calibre weapons (Dominican Republic).

He was also at the centre of media scrutiny following an unsolved murder of his neighbour in 2012. Police found a large arsenal of weapons in his home and he disappeared for a month. The victim's family ruled against him in the wrongful death suit and ordered him to pay $ 25m.

He was involved in several controversies due to a string of arrests. This most recent stint was as a self-styled cryptocurrency guru. He claimed to earn $2000 per day. He was also known for touting conspiracy theories on social media, producing herbal medications, and making a run for the US presidency twice. He also dabbled in yoga and ultra-light aircraft.

The Tennessee prosecutors were charging McAfee for evading taxes after he did not report the income from working as a consultant for cryptocurrencies. He was also a public speaker and sold the right to his life story for a documentary, said the Reuters report.

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