Antivirus software tycoon John McAfee found dead in Spanish prison after US extradition approved

Credit: AP

American antivirus software creator John McAfee has been found dead in his cell in a Spanish prison near Barcelona hours after a court approved his extradition to the United States.

Spain’s National Court approved the extradition on Wednesday to the US, where McAfee was wanted on tax-related criminal charges.

The Catalan justice department confirmed McAfee's death following earlier reports in Spanish media. The department said there were strong indications he had taken his own life.

Security personnel at the Brians 2 penitentiary, where McAfee was being held, tried to revive the 75-year-old but the jail’s medical team finally certified his death, a statement from the regional Catalan government said.

Founder of the first commercial anti-virus program that bore his name, John McAfee. Credit: AP

McAfee was wanted in the US on tax-related criminal charges that could have carried a prison sentence of up to 30 years.

Tennessee prosecutors charged McAfee with evading taxes after failing to report income made from promoting cryptocurrencies while he did consultancy work - as well as income from speaking engagements and selling the rights to his life story for a documentary.

The entrepreneur was arrested last October at Barcelona’s international airport.

A judge ordered at that time that McAfee should be held in jail while awaiting the outcome of a hearing on extradition.

In a hearing held via videolink earlier this month, McAfee argued that the charges against him were politically motivated and said he would spend the rest of his life in prison if he was returned to the U.S.