McAfee Attempted Suicide Months before Death in Spanish Prison: Report

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John McAfee, founder of McAfee Antivirus, speaks at the Malta Blockchain Summit in St Julian’s, Malta November 1, 2018. (Darrin Zammit/Reuters )

Antivirus software pioneer John McAfee first tried to commit suicide in February before succeeding in June, a source in the Spanish prison system told Reuters.

McAfee attempted suicide on February 28 at the Brians prison complex outside Barcelona, the source said. The prison enacted standard protocol for inmates on suicide watch and increased supervision of McAfee.


Javier Villalba, McAfee’s lawyer, previously said McAfee was not suicidal. Widow Janice McAfee also claimed her husband was not suicidal in comments to reporters last week.

“I blame the U.S. authorities for this tragedy. Because of these politically motivated charges against him, my husband is now dead,” she told reporters.

McAfee himself said repeatedly on social media that the authorities should be blamed for killing him if he were ever said to have committed suicide.

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McAfee was found dead in his cell on June 23, hours after a Spanish court approved his extradition to the U.S.

Spanish authorities arrested McAfee in October and attempted to extradite him to the U.S. to face tax evasion charges. Tennessee prosecutors had indicted McAfee for failing to pay taxes on millions of dollars in income, and faced up to 30 years in prison if convicted.

McAfee was an eccentric individual who pioneered the first commercial antivirus software, founding McAfee Associates in 1987 and resigning from the company in 1994. Years later, McAfee made a video in which he explained how users could uninstall his antivirus software.

Authorities in Belize investigated McAfee over the death of a neighbor in 2012. The neighbor, American citizen Gregory Faull, was found shot to death on November 11 of that year, after four of McAfee’s guard dogs were found poisoned. McAfee fled to Guatemala following the incident, and charges were never filed.

“I’m a madman to some people because I don’t follow the normal rules,” McAfee said in a 2017 interview on ABC’s “20/20”. “You know, the drummer that leads me is an odd drummer, but I follow the sound.”

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