Anti-virus creator John McAfee has been found dead in a Barcelona prison cell hours after a Spanish court agreed to extradite him to the US to face tax evasion charges.
The Catalan justice department said medics had tried to resuscitate John McAfee, but were not successful.
It added that “everything indicates” John McAfee had taken his own life.
A controversial figure in the tech world, John McAfee’s company released the first commercial anti-virus software.
McAfee VirusScan helped to spark a multi-billion dollar industry in the computer world, and was eventually sold to technology giant Intel for more than $7.6 billion.
In October 2020, John McAfee was arrested in Spain when he was about to board a plane to Turkey, and accused of failing to file tax returns for four years, despite earning millions from consulting work, speaking engagements, crypto-currencies and selling the rights to his life story.
The US justice department alleged that McAfee evaded tax liability by having his income paid into bank accounts and cryptocurrency exchange accounts in the names of nominees.
John McAfee was also accused of concealing assets, including a yacht and real estate property, also in other people’s names.
Spain’s National Court authorized McAfee’s extradition to the US to face the charges on June 23.
In recent years, John McAfee had repeatedly claimed that there was a plot to get him – however the court said there was “no revealing evidence” that he was being prosecuted for political or ideological reasons, Spanish newspaper El Pais reported.
He had argued in a hearing earlier this month that the charges against him were politically motivated and that he would spend the rest of his life in prison if returned to the US.
Nishay Sanan, McAfee’s lawyer, said he had intended to fight all the charges.
The entrepreneur, who was born in Gloucestershire, England first came to prominence in the 1980s when he founded his tech company and released McAfee VirusScan.
He also launched unsuccessful bids to become the Libertarian Party’s candidate for the presidential elections in 2016 and 2020.
In 2019 McAfee expressed his disdain for taxes, tweeting that he had not filed tax returns for eight years because “taxation is illegal.”
In the same year John McAfee was briefly detained in the Dominican Republic for allegedly bringing weapons into the country.