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Reports: Antivirus pioneer John McAfee found dead in Spanish prison

McAfee, the antivirus software creator, was facing extradition to the U.S. for tax evasion. He was 75.

Reports: Antivirus pioneer John McAfee found dead in Spanish prison
[Photo: Getty Images/Visual China Group]
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John McAfee, the 75-year-old creator of the antivirus software that bears his name, was found dead in a Spanish prison cell Wednesday in what Spanish officials say is an apparent suicide, multiple wire services are reporting.

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McAfee was fighting extradition to the United States, where he faced tax evasion charges. A preliminary court ruling on Wednesday favored his extradition.

In the 1980s, McAfee created some of the first commercial antivirus software in the industry, building a computer security company in which he’d later sell his stake for a reported tens of millions of dollars.

He went on to lead an eccentric life as a kind of aging playboy, living in Belize for a time where he funded medical research and spent time in the company of much younger women. He later fled that country, allegedly wanted for questioning in connection with the killing of a neighbor, and began to travel around the world, teasing about his adventures with sometimes bizarre social media posts. In 2016, he sought the Libertarian Party nomination to the U.S. presidency.

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He also used his internet celebrity to promote a variety of cryptocurrencies and related projects, and U.S. authorities said he failed to pay taxes on money he earned from those endorsements, from selling his life story for a documentary, and other work. He was arrested in Spain last year and held in prison while the U.S. extradition request made its way through Spanish courts.

About the author

Steven Melendez is an independent journalist living in New Orleans.

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