Multiple Spanish outlets are reporting that John McAfee was found dead in his prison cell in Barcelona on Wednesday. Citing prison sources, El Mundo reports that administrators found the creator of the McAfee antivirus software unresponsive in his cell, and following resuscitation efforts he was declared dead. Reuters confirmed the report this afternoon with a statement from the Catalan justice department. Gizmodo reached out to Spanish authorities for comment and we’ll update this post when we receive a reply.
“The judicial procession has travelled to the prison and is investigating the causes of death. Everything indicates that it could be a death by suicide,” the sources told the outlet.
On Tuesday, Spain’s National Court approved an extradition request for McAfee to be returned to the United States to face charges of tax evasion.
In October of last year, McAfee was arrested by Spanish authorities due to an outstanding warrant from the U.S. Justice Department. A sealed indictment was filed in June of 2020 by U.S. prosecutors accusing the developer of failing to file tax returns from 2014 to 2018. According to the DOJ, McAfee made millions of dollars through “promoting cryptocurrencies, consulting work, speaking engagements and selling the rights to his life story for a documentary,” during those years.
In a separate complaint filed last October, the SEC accused McAfee and a co-conspirator of engaging in a scheme to promote a variety of cryptocurrencies to his social media followers without disclosing that he was being paid for the endorsements. The SEC alleged that the scam brought in more than $US23 ($29) million.
After becoming a household name with his ubiquitous software, McAfee walked away from the company to found a number of startups. But in 2012, the eccentric entrepreneur became infamous as disturbing stories of his exiled life in Belize trickled out in the media. When Belizean police announced that McAfee was wanted for questioning in connection with the murder of his neighbour, the floodgates of a new era were opened. Attention on McAfee’s personal life reached an all-time high when Vice travelled to an undisclosed location to interview him in hiding. But Vice screwed up, forgot to clear GPS data in a photo that was uploaded with the story, and accidentally gave away the fact that he was holed up in a Guatemalan resort. He was later taken into custody by Guatemalan authorities and subsequently deported to the United States.
Since that time, McAfee was known for bizarre stunts and wild claims about his personal life. He announced his candidacy for President in a long-shot bid under the Libertarian Party in 2016. But mostly he spent his final years dabbling in the aforementioned world of cryptocurrency and being extremely online.
McAfee was 75 years old.
This is a developing story.
If you or someone you know is in need of crisis support or someone to talk to, contact the Lifeline Australia hotline at 13 11 14, the Suicide Call Back Service at 1300 65 94 67 or the Kids Helpline (for ages 5-25) at 1800 55 1800.