Antivirus creator John McAfee found dead in Spanish prison

John McAfee speaking at an event

Antivirus software pioneer John McAfee has reportedly been found dead in a Spanish prison, hours after the country's highest court approved his extradition to the United States.

The Catalan police force, the Mossos d'Esquadra, confirmed a report in El País that the 75-year-old had been found dead in the Brians 2 prison, just outside of Barcelona, late on Wednesday.

McAfee was wanted by American authorities for alleged tax evasion and was arrested last October at Barcelona's international airport while boarding a flight to Istanbul, shortly after an indictment was made public by prosecutors in Tennessee.

In a statement, the Catalan justice department said that prison officers and medics tried to save McAfee's life, but were unsuccessful. Judicial staff have been dispatched to the prison to investigate the cause of death, but the statement said that "everything points to death by suicide".

US authorities claim McAfee failed to report income made from consultancy work promoting cryptocurrencies, public speaking gigs, and the sale of the rights to his life story for a documentary. McAfee, who originally made his name and fortune as a pioneer of antivirus software in the 1980s, claimed his work as a cryptocurrency 'guru' earned him $2,000 per day.

His namesake company quickly became a household name and still operates under 'McAfee', despite his departure in 1994. However, since leaving the company, McAfee the man has became notorious for his erratic behaviour and strange lifestyle. This includes two attempts at running for the US presidency, production of herbal medicines, multiple arrests - one for possession of a weapon - and lengthy spells as a fugitive.

Most recently, he was charged by a Manhattan federal court over a 'pump and dump' scheme relating to cryptocurrency he was promoting to his large social media following.

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Bobby Hellard

Bobby Hellard is ITPro's Reviews Editor and has worked on CloudPro and ChannelPro since 2018. In his time at ITPro, Bobby has covered stories for all the major technology companies, such as Apple, Microsoft, Amazon and Facebook, and regularly attends industry-leading events such as AWS Re:Invent and Google Cloud Next.

Bobby mainly covers hardware reviews, but you will also recognize him as the face of many of our video reviews of laptops and smartphones.