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The man who created an antivirus software named after him, John McAfee, has been found dead in a jail near Barcelona, Spain. According to reports, the 75-year-old died of an apparent suicide on June 23, 2021, after a Spanish court approved his extradition to face charges in the United States.
He was born in 1945 in Gloucestershire, England, according to Yahoo!. His mother was an Englishwoman and his father an American serviceman. However, McAfee spent most of his early years growing up in Virginia. At the age of 15, McAfee’s father committed suicide.
In 1967, he graduated from Roanoke College with a degree in mathematics. Soon after McAfee graduated, he was hired by NASA. After that, McAfee worked for a series of consulting and computing firms. He founded his own antivirus software company in 1987.
He sold his shares of the “McAffee” software company in 1994, just two years after it was offered to the public. The tech mogul later shared that it took him “a day and a half” to create the antivirus software. He further stated that “four million people were using [the program] within a month.”
After selling — reportedly for $100 million — he had no further involvement in the antivirus company. He later admitted to never using his own program.
The programmer spent his millions on building nine homes. He then filled them with expensive furniture, art, oddities — i.e. a dinosaur skull. Later he purchased a fleet of planes and antique cars. McAfee also created a yoga retreat that hosted 200 people in Colorado. Moreover, he set up a center for a new sport called aero-trekking in New Mexico.
McAfee helped develop instant messaging in the 1990s.
In 2013, a YouTube video popped up disclosing McAffee’s hatred for the antivirus software. In the video not suitable for family websites the tech mogul called the software an “annoying” program.
According to a statement from the regional Catalan government, security personnel attempted to revive McAfee when they discovered him in his cell at the Brians 2 penitentiary — located in northeastern Spain. The jail’s medical team certified his death.
The statement further stated that authorities have “arrived to investigate the causes of death.” However, “everything points to death by suicide.”
Written by Sheena Robertson
AP: Antivirus pioneer John McAfee found dead in Spanish prison; by ARITZ PARRA, RENATA BRITO and BARRY HATTON
ABC: The rise, and fall, and rise of John McAfee, from tech pioneer to ‘person of interest’ in a murder case overseas to presidential candidate; by MATT GUTMAN, TOM BERMAN, JOSEPH RHEE, and LAUREN EFFRON
Yahoo!: The strange and wicked life of John McAfee; by Matthew Walther
Top and Featured Image Courtesy of Gage Skidmore’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License