John McAfee, one of the tech pioneers who made the early Internet a safer place to browse, has died. McAfee was found dead in a jail cell in Barcelona, Spain, where he was awaiting extradition to the United States on tax evasion charges. Spanish officials said the cause of death was suicide. He was 75.
McAfee’s extradition to the U.S. was authorized by the Spanish National Court just hours before his apparent suicide.
McAfee rose to prominence in 1987 when he founded McAfee Associates, a security software maker whose antivirus application became a top seller when the World Wide Web exploded in popularity just a few years later. McAfee resigned from McAfee Associates in 1994, selling his entire stake in the company a few years later. McAfee Associates was ultimately bought by Intel in 2011. It was spun off as a separate public company last year under the name McAfee Corp. and trades on the Nasdaq under the symbol MCFE. John McAfee had no connection with McAfee Corp. even though it bears his name.
In 2016, McAfee became chief executive of MGT Capital Investments, a cybersecurity company. McAfee gave up the CEO role in August 2017 and left the company completely just five months later.
In recent years, the always outspoken and controversial McAfee became a proponent of cryptocurrencies, writing about them on Twitter and in several publications, including TechGenix. In July 2017, McAfee tweeted a prediction that one bitcoin would be worth $500,000 by 2020.
In one of his last tweets on Twitter, just a few days before he was found dead, McAfee denounced the U.S. government for pursuing him.
The US believes I have hidden crypto. I wish I did but it has dissolved through the many hands of Team McAfee (your belief is not required), and my remaining assets are all seized. My friends evaporated through fear of association.
I have nothing.
Yet, I regret nothing.
— John McAfee (@officialmcafee) June 16, 2021
McAfee faced a sentence of up to 30 years in prison if he were extradited to the United States and convicted.
Featured image: Twitter / officialmcafee