The reported suicide of infamous tax fugitive, Bitcoin proponent, and antivirus software program pioneer, John McAfee, has prompted an outpouring of tributes and conspiracy theories right this moment.
After years of evading U.S. taxes and authorities, a Spanish court docket had ordered McAfee’s extradition simply hours earlier than he was discovered lifeless, with the 75-year-old anticipated to face a life sentence in the US ought to he have been extradited.
Former Nationwide Safety Company (NSA) worker and whistleblower, Edward Snowden, criticized the worldwide attain of U.S. enforcement and warned that McAfee’s premature finish is probably not the one one as “Julian Assange’s story could end much the same.” He tweeted:
“Europe should not extradite those accused of non-violent crimes to a court system so unfair — and a prison system so cruel — that native-born defendants would rather die than become subject to it.”
Cardano founder, Charles Hoskinson, praised McAfee’s contributions to pc science, describing him as “one of the most enigmatic and interesting people in the cryptocurrency space and the history of computing.” “He was also a deeply troubled person,” added Hoskinson, noting McAfee’s well-documented private traumas and substance abuse points.
RIP John Mcafee https://t.co/Rc4u3eXX6C
— Charles Hoskinson (@IOHK_Charles) June 23, 2021
“The reason for the suicide seems self-evident — McAfee was 75 years old, and the extradition ot the US was approved, he was looking at over 30 years in jail, if convicted, and likely would have been […] it seem that he decided to choose ending his life there in a Spanish prison rather than a U.S. prison.”
Bitcoin influencer and podcaster Anthony Pompliano remembered McAfee as “kind, funny, and incredibly intelligent,” sharing a picture of himself alongside the anti-virus pioneer and his spouse Janice Dyson, wielding heavy munitions from the home boat the pair had used to evade authorities for years.
I as soon as had the chance to spend the day with the legend @officialmcafee on his boat in the Bahamas.
He was type, humorous, and extremely clever.
Will at all times do not forget that day. RIP to at least one of the world’s most original people. pic.twitter.com/B5FnvDBRYK
— Pomp (@APompliano) June 23, 2021
Kim Dotcom, an web entrepreneur who’s combating his personal extradition expenses from New Zealand over his file-sharing community, Megaupload, lamented McAfee’s drug abuse taking away from his potential, stating:
“A pioneer in data security. I always thought he partied too hard, should have avoided the drugs and focus on using his brilliant mind for good. When he had a sober mind it was all about freedom.”
QAnon and conspiracy theories
Regardless of McAfee’s personal authorized representatives in Spain, informing Reuters that McAfee had hanged himself slightly than face life in jail, the web is predictably ablaze with conspiracy theories asserting McAfee had not died at his personal hand.
The flames have been fanned shortly after his death was reported, when McAfee’s official Instragram account shared a picture of the letter “Q,” igniting pleasure amongst QAnon conspiracy theorists. Enterprise Insider reported that QAnon influencers on Telegram with “hundreds of thousands of followers” have been sharing posts doubting the suicide story.
McAfee’s personal Tweets have been reposted endlessly right this moment, together with one from December 2019 claiming the federal government was threatening to assassinate him and to not consider any model of occasions the place he dedicated suicide. Nevertheless, the tweet was selling his “WHAKD” crypto token, which referenced the death of Jeffrey Epstein, and linked to a website the place the token might be bought.
Getting refined messages from U.S. officers saying, in impact: “We’re coming for you McAfee! We will kill your self”. I bought a tattoo right this moment simply in case. If I suicide myself, I did not. I used to be whackd. Examine my proper arm.$WHACKD accessible solely on https://t.co/HdSEYi9krq🙂 pic.twitter.com/rJ0Vi2Hpjj
— John McAfee (@officialmcafee) November 30, 2019
Different conspiracy theorists zeroed in on a publish from June 2019 the place he claimed to have a “31+ terabyte” trove of knowledge with proof of authorities corruption that he claimed incriminated “a CIA agent” and “two Bahamian officials” that he would launch if he have been ever arrested. Nevertheless McAfee was arrested in October 2020 and no such proof trove has been launched.
Each eccentric millionaire beefing with governments claims they’ve proof of corruption and that all the pieces shall be made public ought to tragedy befall them.
Tragedy finally befalls them, however the lifeless man’s swap by no means triggers and the proof isn’t delivered.
— Non-Fungible Toker (@eldeezo) June 23, 2021
It’s price bearing in thoughts McAfee was no stranger to creating daring and outlandish claims, together with promising he would devour his personal phallus on nationwide tv ought to the worth of Bitcoin fail to exceed $1 million by 2021, that he had carried out sexual activity with a whale, and that he had synthesized a brand new narcotic compound in Belize.
McAfee’s Tweets from jail had additionally taken on an more and more sombre tone in latest weeks. In Might, he revealed he had mentioned suicide with a fellow inmate.
Immediately a person going through a tough state of affairs requested if I knew of painless methods to kill himself. Having little expertise in such, I used to be of not a lot assist.
The wonderful factor is that the tone of the dialogue was like discussing the climate.
Jail is an odd setting.
— John McAfee (@officialmcafee) Might 27, 2021
He additionally spoke of being “an old man lost in a near infinite Twitter verse — like tears in rain” and admitting to “having a down day.”
McAfee’s Spanish lawyer, Javier Villalba, advised Reuters he believed that McAfee merely couldn’t tolerate being locked up:
“This is the result of a cruel system that had no reason to keep this man in jail for so long.”
Should you need assistance in the U.S. name the Nationwide Suicide Prevention Lifeline on 1-800-273-8255. In Australia name Lifeline on 131114 or search for the service nearest to you.