John McAfee, controversial antivirus pioneer, found dead in prison

He was set to be extradited to the US to face tax evasion charges.

Jorge Lopez / reuters

Antivirus software entrepreneur John McAfee has died at the age of 75. According to Spanish-language publications El Mundo and El Pais, police found McAfee dead in the Barcelona prison cell where he was awaiting extradition to the US. A spokesperson for the Catalan Justice Department has since confirmed the death to Reuters. The reports indicate that authorities believe he committed suicide, but the cause of death has not been officially determined.

Spanish authorities arrested McAfee at Barcelona airport in October 2020 following an indictment from US federal prosecutors on allegations of fraud and money laundering, as well as tax evasion charges linked to his failed bid to run as the Libertarian Party candidate in the 2020 US presidential election. McAfee allegedly failed to file tax returns for four years between 2014 and 2018 despite earning a "considerable income" from a variety of sources, including from money he made promoting cryptocurrencies and selling the rights to his life story for a documentary.

While he's best known for the antivirus software that carries his name, in more recent years McAfee has mostly garnered media attention for his erratic behavior. In 2012, while he was living in Belize at the time, he was accused of paying a hitman $5,000 to murder his neighbor. More recently, authorities in the Dominican Republic arrested McAfee on suspicion of travelling on a yacht loaded with high-caliber weapons and other military equipment.

"There is much sorrow in prison, disguised as hostility," McAfee recently wrote on his Twitter account. "I'm old and content with food and a bed but for the young prison is a horror — a reflection of the minds of those who conceived them."

In the US, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline’s # is 1-800-273-8255. Crisis Text Line can be reached by texting HOME to 741741 (US), 686868 (Canada), or 85258 (UK).