John McAfee Found Dead in Spanish Prison Cell before Extradition to U.S.

POLITICS & POLICY
John McAfee, co-founder of McAfee Crypto Team and CEO of Luxcore and founder of McAfee Antivirus, speaks at the Malta Blockchain Summit in St Julian’s, Malta, November 1, 2018. (Darrin Zammit Lupi/Reuters)

Antivirus software pioneer John McAfee was found dead in his prison cell in Spain on Wednesday, from where he was set to be extradited to the U.S. on charges of tax evasion.

A Spanish court had approved McAfee’s extradition hours before his death. McAfee allegedly earned millions of dollars while failing to file tax returns between 2014 and 2018, according to an indictment in 2020. McAfee faced up to 30 years in prison under the indictment.

“A judicial delegation has arrived to investigate the causes of death,” read a statement by the Catalan regional government translated by the Associated Press. “Everything points to death by suicide.”

McAfee, an eccentric individual, warned in 2019 and 2020 that if he died in prison it would not be by suicide.

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The entrepreneur founded McAfee Associates in 1987, which would go on to produce the first commercial antivirus software. McAfee resigned from the company in 1994, and almost a decade later created a profanity-laced video that explained how users could uninstall the software.

“I’m a madman to some people because I don’t follow the normal rules,” McAfee told ABC’s “20/20” in 2017. “You know, the drummer that leads me is an odd drummer, but I follow the sound.”

Authorities in Belize investigated McAfee over the death of a neighbor in 2012. McAfee’s neighbor at the time, Gregory Faull complained about guard dogs allowed to roam on McAfee’s property, and when four of the dogs were found poisoned, McAfee reportedly became convinced that Faull was to blame.

On November 11, 2012, Faull was found shot at his home, and McAfee fled to Guatemala. Ultimately, no charges were filed against McAfee.

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