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John McAfee dead: Life and times of the renegade antivirus pioneer

John McAfee, the renegade antivirus pioneer, found dead in Spanish prison


John McAfee dead: Life and times of the renegade antivirus pioneer

Antivirus software pioneer John McAfee was found dead in his cell in a jail near Barcelona, Spain on Wednesday. The news of his death came hours after country’s top court approved his extradition to the United States where he was facing criminal charges over tax fraud. If convicted, he could have faced up to 30 years in prison.

Prison authorities were investigating the cause of death. with the preliminary findings pointing towards suicide. McAfee’s lawyer also confirmed his death saying the tech enterpreuer had apparently hanged himself in his prison cell, news agency Reuters reported.

According to AP, the jail security personnel tried to revive him, but the medical team certified his death, a statement from the regional Catalan government said. McAfee has been in jail in Spain since he was arrested at Barcelona airport in October 2020, just as he was about to board a flight to Istanbul. He is alleged to have deliberately failed to file tax returns between 2014 and 2018, despite earning millions from consulting work, cryptocurrencies and selling the rights to his life story.

“To conceal his income and assets from the Internal Revenue Service… the defendant ordered part of his income to be paid to straw men and placed property in their names,” it said.

McAfee worked for NASA, Xerox and Lockheed Martin before launching the world’s first commercial anti-virus in 1987. In 2010, computer chip maker Intel acquired his software company in a deal worth $7.68 billion.
.He was no longer associated with the antivirus business despite the program still carrying his name with 500 million users worldwide. In the same year (2010), McAfee forayed into antibiotics business in Belize with a venture called QuorumEx. A controversial figure in the tech world, his personal life drew as much interest as his professional achivements.

In 2012, he was named by Belize authorities as a “‘person of interest” in the murder of his neighbor. In 2015, McAfee was arrested in the US for driving under the influence and possession of a gun while under the influence. McAfee’s renegade life came to the front with the release of a documentray, “Gringo: The Dangerous Life of John McAfee” in 2016, which is about his time in the Central American country.

A description of the documentary describes how McAfee “goes off the grid to live in Belize, building a compound and harem, becoming a drug lord and developing an armed security force to guard himself against the police until he is a suspect in his neighbor’s murder and must make a great escape.” McAfee twice made long-shot runs for the US presidency and was a participant in Libertarian Party presidential debates in 2016. He dabbled in yoga, ultralight aircraft and the production of herbal medications.

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In July 2019, he was briefly detained in the Dominican Republic after he and five others were suspected of traveling on a yacht with a cache of firearms and ammunition. In March, he was charged in a Manhattan federal court over a pump and dump scheme involving cryptocurrencies he was promoting to his large social media following.

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