JOHN McAfee’s family has questioned his death in a Spanish jail on Wednesday as they say that if he “took his own life we may never know why.”
The tech guru, 75, reportedly hanged himself in his jail cell after a Spanish court confirmed that he would be extradited to the US to face tax evasion charges.
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Relatives of the antivirus software pioneer questioned his death by suicide as they referenced his own previous claims of “authorities trying to shut him up.”
Shelley Uden said on Thursday she was “very sad” to hear of her cousin’s death, adding “if he did take his own life, we may never know why.”
Shelley, 70, who lives with husband John in Gwent, Wales, told The Sun that she “heard about his death in prison on the main news last night.”
“It came as quite a shock,” she said.
“He was a very colorful character. I lost contact with him years ago and while I never saw him I heard about him on the news.”
“I only met him when I was a child and can’t really remember him. Then he went abroad and settled in America and we lost contact,” she added.
“I can’t comment on his life because I had no idea what he got up to and had no dealings with him, although his name came up at times in the news.”
Shelley and her brother Gary Williams, from Gloucestershire in the UK, are related to the tech entrepreneur, 75, as their late dad and John’s mum are brother and sister.
Gary’s wife Ruth Williams told The Sun: “I wouldn’t know why he died or if it was a suicide or a suspicious death by the authorities trying to shut him up.
“My husband hadn’t seen him in years and I’d never met him.”
Gloucestershire-born McAfee was renowned for his eccentric behavior and trouble with the law.
The pioneering creator of popular computer antivirus software died in an apparent suicide yesterday afternoon at Brians 2 Prison in Barcelona on the day that a court approved his extradition to the US on tax evasion charges.
If found guilty of criminal charges he faced a maximum 30-year sentence.
His cousin’s comments on the “shock” of his death come as McAfee’s lawyer claims that he “didn’t say goodbye to his family” before his reported suicide.
Javier Villalba said the entrepreneur’s death came as a surprise to his wife and other relatives, adding he would seek to get “to the bottom” of his client’s death.
It also comes as it emerges that while McAfee had been sharing a jail cell in the prison since he was placed in preventative detention since his October arrest, he was reportedly alone at the time of his death, AP reports.
A judge has ordered an autopsy for McAfee to determine the cause of death but a court spokeswoman for the Catalonia region said Thursday that it could take “days or weeks.”
“This has been like pouring cold water on the family and on his defense team,” Villalba told The Associated Press on Thursday.
“Nobody expected it, he had not said goodbye.”
Although Villalba said that he had no evidence of any foul play, he blamed the death on “the cruelty of the system” for keeping a 75-year-old behind bars for economic and not blood-related crimes after judges refused to release him on bail.
“We had managed to nullify seven of the 10 counts he was accused of and even so he was still that dangerous person who could be fleeing Spain if he was released?” the lawyer said.
“He was a world eminence, where could he hide?”
Spain’s National Court on Monday ruled that McAfee should be extradited to the US to face charges for evading more than $4million in the fiscal years 2014 to 2018.
The judge dropped seven of the 10 counts in the initial indictment.
Villalba said that McAfee had learned about the ruling shortly after on Monday and that his death on Wednesday didn’t come in the heat of the moment.
He also said that the legal team had been preparing an appeal to avoid being extradited.
Only three days before his death, McAfee’s former prostitute wife Janice had claimed authorities were “determined” he would die in prison in a chilling Father’s Day message.
“John’s honesty has often gotten him in trouble with corrupt governments and corrupt government officials because of his outspoken nature and his refusal to be extorted, intimidated, or silenced,” she said.
“Now the US authorities are determined to have John in prison to make an example of him for speaking out against corruption within their government agencies.”
It followed years of McAfee making his own claims that he was being targeted as he alleged that he had compiled files about “corruption” in governments.
He said that he had been receiving “subtle messages” from US officials threatening him.
The entrepreneur had also previously compared himself to convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein as he claimed that he would never die by suicide.
Epstein was also found dead in a prison cell in 2019.
“If I hang myself, a la Epstein, it will be no fault of mine,” he wrote in an October 2020 tweet.
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He also showed off a tattoo on his arm reading “whackd” as he claimed again that he would never kill himself.
Ae well as facing tax evasion charges in the US, authorities in Belize sought to question him over the bloody death of a neighbor who threatened his dogs.
McAfee had lived on the run, living on a boat in international waters before he was arrested in October 2020 while trying to leave Spain for Turkey.
If you or someone you know is affected by any of the issues raised in this story, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255) or text Crisis Text Line at 741741.