John McAfee, the founder of McAfee antivirus software, died in a jail cell in Barcelona on Wednesday, according to The Associated Press. He was 75.
Earlier in the day, a Spanish court had issued a preliminary ruling that McAfee could be extradited to the United States to face tax-evasion charges. The eccentric tech executive had been hit with a 10-count indictment in Tennessee last October for allegedly failing to pay taxes on his income; McAfee was also facing a number of federal charges for alleged financial crimes. He was arrested in Spain last October and had been awaiting extradition up until Wednesday.
Two Spanish newspapers, El Mundo and El Pais, said the evidence points to McAfee taking his own life.
McAfee made his fortune in Silicon Valley, where he founded his McAfee Associates anti-virus company in 1987. McAfee left the company in 1994, but by that point millions of PC owners were already familiar with the product. Intel eventually bought the firm for $7.7 billion in 2010.
In more recent years, McAfee was better known for his personal life than his professional life. Most notably, McAfee found himself in the middle of a media whirlwind in 2012 after police said he was a “person of interest” in the death of his neighbor, Gregory Faull, in Belize. McAfee fled the country soon after but continued to tweet and blog, claiming he fled because the Belize government was corrupt and he feared for his life. McAfee sought asylum in Guatemala, but his location was inadvertently shared by a reporter and photographer who interviewed him while he was in hiding.
McAfee had been on the move ever since, but a Florida court in 2019 ordered him to pay Faull’s estate $25 million in a wrongful-death lawsuit. McAfee, in response, called it “legal extortion” and said he wouldn’t pay.
McAfee also made headlines in 2016 when he announced he was running for president as a Libertarian — although he openly said there was no chance he or any other Libertarian candidate would win.
John McAfee was born in Cinderford, England on September 18, 1945, and was raised primarily in Virginia.
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