The anti-virus pioneer John McAfee was found dead on Wednesday in his Barcelona prison cell, where he had been awaiting trial for tax evasion.
Just before his death, Spain’s high court had authorized his extradition to the United States. According to local reports, Mr McAfee had said in court only a week ago that if he was extradited, he feared he would spend the rest of his life in prison.
“If I am extradited, it is almost certain that I will spend the rest of my life in prison because the United States wants to use me as an example,” he said, according to the Spanish news outlet Europa Press.
Spanish authorities have said his death was likely a suicide.
Nishay Sanan, the Chicago-based defence attorney representing McAfee, said they had not been formally informed of the cause of death and the legal team was asking Spanish authorities to confirm whether the prison had video cameras on his cell.
McAfee appears to have been increasingly fearful he would be “whacked” by unnamed government officials; warning in 2019 that US officials said they were “coming for” him. He posted a photo with a “$WHACKD” tattoo he says he got following the “subtle messages”, saying “If I suicide myself, I didn’t. I was whackd”.
In 2020, he told followers that if he died in prison, it would not be by suicide, saying “know that if I hang myself, a la Epstein, it will be no fault of mine”.
NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden warned that WikiLeaks’s Australian born founder, Julian Assange, could be next to kill himself as defendants would rather die than be subject to an unfair system of extradition for non-violent crimes.