Computing legend John McAfee has been found dead in his prison cell – just weeks after his devoted wife said her husband faced dying behind bars.
A Spanish notario confirmed the passing of McAfee to City AM this evening, stating ‘death by asphyxiation’ and suggesting the 75-year-old had hanged himself.
Prison staff had attempted CPR for several minutes before medics arrived and were unable to revive him.
The shocking news comes hours after the Spanish courts announced they would support the extradition of McAfee to the US where he faced tax evasion and cryptocurrency-related charges that would likely land him with a 30-year jail sentence.
Only weeks ago, an emotional Janice McAfee issued a heartfelt plea in which she claimed her husband of eight years faced dying behind bars.
Her unwitting prediction appears to have sadly come true, albeit likely at the hands of John McAfee rather than time itself.
READ MORE: John McAfee faces dying in prison for the same thing Elon Musk does on Twitter, says his wife
Reports of the death of John McAfee were met with shock by many of his friends, including Zeichen Corporation founder Bruce Heidelberg who spoke with Crypto AM’s James Bowater soon after the tragic news was confirmed.
“This tragedy is a shock to all of us,” he said.
“I send my condolences to Janice, who John loved so dearly. He was an extraordinary man, with a truly gifted mind, who I admired so much.
“I will always remember setting down together at 4am in the morning talking about the meaning of life. Thank you, sir, for this gift you gave me, allowing me to be apart of your family. Team McAfee!”
The legal battle against extradition had taken its toll on the McAfees, with concern regularly being aired for John’s mental wellbeing. His often-melancholy tweets hinted at his loneliness in a Catalan prison where he didn’t speak Spanish.
The fact that spiralling legal fees had all but left the pair bankrupt was also a cause for great anxiety.
John McAfee was arrested in Spain in October and was imprisoned in the Brians 2 jail outside Barcelona pending extradition to the US where he was accused of conspiracy to commit fraud and money laundering.
Together with personal bodyguard Jimmy Watson Junior, the 75-year-old faced charges surrounding the promoting of various cryptocurrencies through social media in order to inflate prices before selling them off for £1.45m ($2m) – something McAfee vehemently denied.
Prosecutors in New York cited allegations from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission which raised concerns about McAfee’s use of Twitter to promote digital assets to his one million followers.
According to files submitted to the Federal Court in Manhattan, McAfee and Watson were said to have been selling crypto assets once they had been able to inflate their prices. The files alleged they also landed some £8m ($11m) from various fledgling cryptocurrency organisations as payments to promote the start-ups.
‘Lies and deception’
According to prosecutor Audrey Strauss, they effectively “exploited a widely used social media platform and enthusiasm among investors in the emerging cryptocurrency market to make millions through lies and deception”.
Janice McAfee recently questioned the charges’ validity against the backdrop of Elon Musk’s meddling with the price of Bitcoin via Twitter.
“Elon Musk has moved the crypto markets with his tweets far greater that John McAfee could ever have,” she said.
“John faces the real possibility of dying in prison for allegedly engaging in similar activities.”
Mrs McAfee was also quick to point out that she believed Elon Musk had no crime to answer for.
“I obviously am not saying that Elon Musk should be in prison. That’s ridiculous,” she added.
“I’m simply stating that according to John McAfee’s indictment he has been accused of engaging in similar activity, so since Elon is not in prison for his actions neither should John be.”
Before being detained in Spain, the McAfees had spent almost two years on the run from authorities aboard their yacht as they flitted between the Caribbean, Mediterranean, London, Estonia and various secret hideaways.
Following the arrest, McAfee slammed the accusations as “overblown” and insisted he was not guilty of any wrongdoing with cryptocurrencies.
“My team evaluated every promotion based on management, business plans and potential,” he said.
“No one could have foreseen the altcoin market crash. We were paid in the same coins that crashed.
“The SEC allegations are overblown.”