On Wednesday, John McAfee, the eccentric security software pioneer was discovered dead in his jail cell in Barcelona.
According to authorities, his death occurred just hours after a Spanish court granted his extradition to the United States to face tax accusations that could result in decades in prison.
Several reports prove that he tried to live as a hedonistic outsider while avoiding a slew of legal issues.
According to a statement from the regional Catalan government, security staff tried to revive him, but the jail's medical team eventually declared his death. It said, "A judicial delegation has arrived to investigate the causes of death," and that "Everything points to death by suicide."
The statement did not mention McAfee by name but stated that the deceased was a 75-year-old US citizen awaiting extradition to his homeland.
The Associated Press confirmed that it was McAfee after speaking with a Catalan government official familiar with the matter who was not authorized to be named in media reports.
His death was confirmed after Spain's National Court ruled in favor of extraditing McAfee, 75, who had earlier argued in a hearing this month. That the charges against him by Tennessee prosecutors were politically motivated and that if he were returned to the US, he would spend the rest of his life in prison.
The court's decision was made public on Wednesday and was subject to appeal, with any final extradition order requiring Cabinet approval.
McAfee's legal troubles spanned Tennessee, Central America, and the Caribbean. He was a cryptocurrency promoter, tax opponent, U.S. presidential contender, and a fugitive who openly embraced drugs, firearms, and sex. He was sought for questioning in connection with the death of his neighbor in Belize in 2012 but never charged.
McAfee was arrested at Barcelona's international airport last October and has been held in custody since then, awaiting the result of extradition proceedings. The arrest came after he was charged with tax evasion in Tennessee in the same month for failing to disclose revenue from promoting cryptocurrency while consulting, lecturing, and selling the rights to his life story for a documentary.
The criminal charges entail a maximum prison sentence of at least 30 years.
McAfee "will always be remembered as a fighter," according to Nishay Sanan, the Chicago-based attorney who defended him in those cases.
"He tried to love this country, but the US government made his existence impossible," she added. "They tried to erase him, but they failed."
As per the lawyer, Spanish authorities had not provided his legal team with a cause of death. He also asked if McAfee's cell or the prison had video cameras. The US Attorney's Office, located in Memphis, declined to comment. According to a Spanish court document viewed by AP, Tennessee prosecutors claimed McAfee owes the US government USD 4,214,105 in taxes for undisclosed income in the five fiscal years from 2014 to 2018.
However, in a recent judgment, a judge from the National Court consented to extradite him just to face charges from 2016 to 2018.
John David McAfee was born in Gloucestershire, England, in the year 1945. He founded McAfee Associates in 1987, and after selling his stake in the antivirus software company, that bears his name in the early 1990s, he led an eccentric life.
McAfee ran for President of the US twice as a long-shot candidate and took part in the Libertarian Party's presidential debates in 2016.
In early November 2012, he was wanted, for interrogation in connection with the death of Gregory Viant Faull, who was shot to death on the Belizean island where both of them lived.
At the time, McAfee told the Associated Press that he was being investigated by the Belizean government. The Belizean police refuted this, stating they were only looking into a crime about which McAfee might have some information. Then-Prime Minister Dean Barrow even commented on McAfee's mental state. He said, "I don't want to be unkind to the gentleman, but I believe he is extremely paranoid, even bonkers."
In a wrongful death claim in 2019, a Florida court ordered McAfee to pay $25 million to Faull's estate. According to a statement posted on Twitter, he refused to pay them. It said that he had "not responded to a single one of my 37 lawsuits for the past 11 years." He claimed to have no assets, writing that the order was a "mute point" — an apparent misspelling of "moot."
He was released from detention in the Dominican Republic in July of that year after he and five other people were accused of traveling on a yacht with high-caliber weapons, ammunition, and military-style gear.
According to Wired Magazine in 2012, McAfee said that his father, a heavy drinker and a "very unhappy man," had shot himself when McAfee was 15.
When McAfee was living in Belize and was sought for interrogation in connection with the murder of his neighbor, Wired Magazine reporter Joshua Davis spent six months digging into McAfee's tumultuous life. He told me how he stood there and watched as McAfee pulled out a gun to demonstrate a point.
McAfee stated in a 2015 interview with WBBJ-TV that he only feels safe when armed.
According to the TV station, he chose to be interviewed while holding a loaded gun in each hand. He said, "Very little gives me a feeling of being safe and more secure, other than being armed in my bedroom with the door locked."
McAfee said his prison experience in Spain was a "fascinating adventure" that he planned to never return to the United States in one of his final known media interviews, which was last November, with the British newspaper, The Independent.
He also added that he had been recognized by prisoners and guards and that several had asked for his autograph.
McAfee also mentioned that his wife, Janice McAfee, was his sole point of contact outside of prison.
His last tweet was a retweet of a message from her for Father's Day.
It said, "These eight months John has spent in prison in Spain have been especially hard on his overall health, both mentally and physically, as well as financially, but he is undeterred by continuing to speak truth to power."
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