John McAfee, the creator of the eponymous antivirus software, was found dead Wednesday in prison outside Barcelona. He was 75. In recent years, McAfee became a prominent booster of cryptocurrencies, ran unsuccessfully for U.S. president. McAfee had numerous run-ins with the law and traded in extreme conspiracy theories.
McAfee was discovered dead in his prison cell hours after Spain’s National Court approved his extradition to the U.S. over multiple tax fraud charges.
Security personnel at the Brians 2 prison in northeast Spain tried but failed to revive him. The Associated Press reported, citing a statement from the region’s government.
Tax Charges Case on Antivirus Software McAfee
McAfee had been in Spanish custody since October on a June 2020 U.S. Indictment in which he was charged with failing to file four years of tax returns while concealing assets.
Then in March, he showed and accused of fraud and money laundering over his use of social media to promote cryptocurrencies. Which prosecutors said generated $13 million in illicit gains for McAfee and a co-conspirator.
Nishay Sanan, McAfee’s attorney, said his colleagues in Spain confirmed that McAfee had found dead in his jail cell. Sanan claimed the U.S. government had identified McAfee as a target and “tried to erase him, but failed.”
“John lived his life the way he saw fit,” Sanan said. “In the end that is all that matters. You don’t have to agree with his way — he did not care.”
The Justice Department declined to comment and a spokeswoman referred questions to Spanish authorities.
Before his legal turmoil, McAfee was a pioneer of the cybersecurity industry. He founded McAfee Corp. in 1987 in Santa Clara, California, and led the company as it dominated the market for antivirus protection of personal computers. Half of all Fortune 100 companies were using his software during that time.
McAfee resigned in 1994. Decades later he told the South China Morning Post that running the company no longer was fun as it grew to a huge corporation with thousands of employees.
Intel Corp. bought the company in 2010 and later rebranded all McAfee products as Intel Security. After his name removed, McAfee told the BBC, “I am now everlastingly grateful to Intel for freeing me from this terrible association with the worst software on the planet.”
During the period from 2014 to 2018 McAfee failed to file U.S. tax returns, according to a federal indictment. After escape law enforcement, he arrested and detained last October in Spain.
From prison, McAfee was able to use Twitter to continue promoting cryptocurrencies, but also to share his experience. In April, he tweeted: “this has been the most trying period in my life.” At that point, he had been in the Catalonian prison for six months.
McAfee’s Former House Manager Statement
CeCe Craig, McAfee’s former house manager in Woodland Park, Colo., lived on McAfee’s property for years in the early 2000s and said she knew a cheerier side of the software legend.
In one of his last interviews, on the Delphi Podcast, just before s before he arrested in Spain, McAfee wore a blazer and sunglasses and appeared unhinged, screaming and cursing at the host about Bitcoin.
He also expressed his disdain for income taxes. When asked if that meant he does not want to return to the U.S., he had a quick reply.
“No, I do want to live in a America. I just can’t,” he said. “They won’t let me back in, what can I tell you?”