John McAfee, the creator of the antivirus computer software that once bore his name has been found dead, aged 75, reports have claimed.
The British-American software pioneer has reportedly been found dead in his Spanish prison cell in Barcelona, ahead of a planned extradition to the United States to face charges of alleged tax evasion.
He was arrested in Spain in January and had been facing a potential sentence of up to 30 years in prison if convicted in a trial in the US.
No cause of death has been confirmed at the time of writing. However, the Catalan Justice Department said “everything indicates” McAfee had committed suicide (via BBC).
McAfee, born in Gloucestershire, founded McAfee Associates in 1987, as one of the first anti-virus software packages. His association with the company he founded didn’t last too long. He resigned from the board in 1994 and soon sold his remaining stake in the company before it was sold to Intel in 2010. By that point he had zero association with the company.
Prior to the creation of the McAfee software, he had worked as an engineer at NASA, as well as Xerox and Lockheed. It was at the latter when he began to develop tools to combat computer viruses.
After leaving the company he founded, McAfee was a prominent privacy advocate and continued to build backdoors into apps and services to warn users of possible exploits. He was also an advocate for Bitcoin and other crypto currencies.
Six years ago, he announced he would run for President as a candidate, but came third in the Libertarian party convention. He also announced a plan to run again in 2020, which also fizzled out.
McAfee had been quite outspoken about his opposition to taxes, declaring them illegal. At the time of his arrest in January, he had not filed a tax return in four years.
In a statement in March, the US department of justice charged McAfee with “conspiracy to commit commodities and securities fraud, conspiracy to commit securities and touting fraud, wire fraud conspiracy and substantive wire fraud, and money laundering conspiracy offenses stemming from two schemes relating to the fraudulent promotion to investors of cryptocurrencies qualifying under federal law as commodities or securities. “