RIP John McAfee: Cybersecurity Legend Found Dead Of Apparent Suicide In Barcelona Prison

john mcafee
The founder of McAfee Antivirus, John McAfee, was found dead this afternoon in a Barcelona prison. McAfee had been held in the Spanish jail since early October 2020 following an indictment filed by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for failing to file tax returns and tax evasion. McAfee, who was 75, had just learned that a Spanish court had approved his extradition to the United States to face the charges.

In March 2021, the SEC charged McAfee and his partner, Jimmy Watson, Jr., with seven additional charges involving a cryptocurrency "pump and dump" scheme. The pair was accused of "promoting investments in initial coin offerings (ICOs) to his Twitter followers without disclosing that he was paid to do so and "[promoting] multiple ICOs on Twitter, allegedly pretending to be impartial and independent even though he was paid more than $23 million in digital assets for the promotions."

john mcafee 2016
McAfee in 2016: Flickr (Gage Skidmore)

In total, McAfee faced up to 20 years in prison for his alleged crimes. He long claimed that the charges against him were politically motivated, tweeting in December 2020 that "Many in the [Libertarian] party believe income taxes are unconstitutional. He went on to add, "I speak out loudly against it. There are other means of funding."

He went on to add that no fraud was committed; "I have refused to file," which he said was a misdemeanor.

McAfee has long been a wild and polarizing figure in tech and even in the political sphere. He [unsuccessfully] ran for president in 2016 as a Libertarian candidate and talked openly about his drug use, as well as alleged government conspiracies against him. McAfee was even a suspect in the murder of his neighbor in Belize, which he spoke about in a Dateline interview.

His recent antics were wildly erratic, including an incident where he snorted bath salts while attempting to explain to users how to uninstall McAfee Antivirus software.

One of McAfee's most recent tweets was posted on June 16th, in which he again railed against the U.S. government:

A lawyer for McAfee lamented his passing today, saying that it was "the result of a cruel system that had no reason to keep this man in jail for so long," in a statement to The New York Times.