Founder and CEO of McAfee Corp., a business that provides antivirus protection for computers, established the company in 1987.
McAfee was found dead in prison outside of Barcelona Wednesday, according to the Associated Press. He was 75 years old.
McAfee has become a prominent booster of cryptocurrencies, ran unsuccessfully for the presidency, had numerous run-ins with the law, and promoted extreme conspiracy theories in recent years.
In the hours after the Spanish national court-approved McAfee’s extradition to the United States on numerous tax fraud charges, the Macintosh founder was found dead in his prison cell. According to authorities in northeast Spain, members of security staff tried to revive the prisoner but could not do so, according to the Associated Press.
The U.S. indictment alleges that McAfee failed to file federal tax returns for four years and concealed assets. In September 2017, McAfee was taken into custody in Spain for failing to file his tax returns for four years. Observers say prosecutors allege that McAfee and the co-conspirator could make $13 million in illicit gains from the use of social media to promote cryptocurrencies.
According to a Justice Department spokeswoman, questions should be directed to Spanish authorities.
Cybersecurity pioneer McAfee was well-known before his legal wranglings. The company was founded by McAfee in Santa Clara, California, in 1987, and he led it to be the number one antivirus protection provider for personal computers. His software was used by half of the Fortune 100 companies during that time. He resigned from the company in 1994. After the company grew to a massive corporation with thousands of employees, he said that running the company no longer was fun.
Intel Corporation purchased McAfee in 2010 and later rebranded all McAfee products as Intel Security. The BBC reported that McAfee told them he’s eternally grateful to Intel for getting rid of his terrible connection with the world’s worst software.
Due to a number of failed property, bond, and real estate investments, McAfee’s fortune plummeted to only $4 million in 2008. A confrontation with police occurred in 2012 after killing Gregory Faull, a Florida native and 52-year-old contractor who lived nearby. In connection with a murder investigation, police raided McAfee’s Ambergris Caye home after Faull was killed.
In 2012, he requested asylum from Guatemala, claiming authorities in Belize weren’t after him. To salvage his reputation, he posted messages to his website and sent updates to Wired magazine. He also allowed two Vice magazine reporters to accompany him. The suspect discussed hiding in a cardboard box and burying himself in the sand to elude the police.
In December 2012, McAfee arrived in Miami after being expelled from Guatemala. Guatemala’s then-president apologized for putting him in a “slippery situation” in an interview with Bloomberg News the day before leaving Belize. A Florida judge ruled the man must pay Faull’s estate over $25 million.
A privacy-focused campaigner, McAfee ran for president in 2016 and pushed for the government to create a cybersecurity defense strategy. Former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson won the party’s nomination.
After joining Goldman Sachs’ MGT Capital Investments Inc. in 2017, McAfee jumped on board the Bitcoin bandwagon. That year, he resigned to become CEO of a cryptocurrency company, Luxcore. It was promised to become a profitable cybersecurity company by boosting its Bitcoin mining operations.
He charged more than $105,000 per tweet to promote initial coin offerings as part of his cryptocurrency venture. After receiving unspecified “threats” from the United States, McAfee told his Twitter followers he would be going dark on social media. Securities and Exchange Commission.
According to a federal indictment, McAfee failed to file federal taxes between 2014 and 2018. The Spanish authorities arrested him last October after he eluded law enforcement. His six-month stay in Catalonia’s prison was ending at that point. During his imprisonment, McAfee continued to promote cryptocurrencies on Twitter while also sharing his story. Earlier this year, he tweeted, “I am going through the toughest time in my life right now.”
A tattoo on McAfee’s right bicep was the subject of a photo shared to Twitter in November 2019. His tweet said: “Getting subtle signals from the US that say: “We’re coming for you, McAfee!” My tattoo said “We’re gonna kill you. If I did, I didn’t. Check my right arm.”.”
According to La Vanguardia, McAfee appears to have committed suicide, citing a statement from the Catalan Department of Justice, where he was being held.