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Silicon Valley Antivirus Software Mogul John McAfee Found Dead in Spanish Prison Cell After Extradition to U.S. Approved

MADRID (AP/CBS SF) -- Onetime Silicon Valley antivirus software entrepreneur John McAfee was found dead in his Spanish prison cell Wednesday,  hours after a court approved his extradition to the United States to face tax-evasion charges, according to media reports.

According to the Guardian website, Catalan's regional police force, the Mossos d'Esquadra, confirmed a report by Spanish newspaper El País that the 75-year-old McAfee had been found dead in the Brians 2 prison near Barcelona, late Wednesday night.

Security personnel at the Brians 2 penitentiary near the northeastern Spanish city tried to revive him, but the jail's medical team finally certified his death, a statement from the regional Catalan government said.

"A judicial delegation has arrived to investigate the causes of death," the statement said, adding that "Everything points to death by suicide."

The statement didn't identify McAfee by name, but said he was a 75-year-old U.S. citizen awaiting extradition to his country. A Catalan government source familiar with the event who was not authorized to be named in media reports confirmed to the AP that the dead man was McAfee.

Earlier Wednesday, Spain's National Court had approved McAfee's extradition to the United States, where he is wanted on tax-related criminal charges that carry a prison sentence of up to 30 years.

The decision can be appealed and the final extradition will need to be approved by the Spanish Cabinet.

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 charges refer to the three fiscal years from 2016 to 2018, according to the Spanish court's ruling on Wednesday.

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.

McAfee led an eccentric life after he sold his stake in the antivirus software company named after him in the early 1990s.

He twice ran long-shot bids for U.S. president and was a participant in Libertarian Party presidential debates in 2016.

In July 2019, McAfee was released from detention in the Dominican Republic after he and five others were suspected of traveling on a yacht carrying high-caliber weapons, ammunition and military-style gear, officials on the Caribbean island said at the time.

McAfee has been on the run in connection with his legal woes for much of the past decade.

The software pioneer told the New York Times he had lost all but $4 million of the $100 million he made when he sold his company. He moved to Belize in 2009 in order to lower his taxes.

In 2012, he was named as a person of interest in the death of American expatriate Gregory Viant Faull by the Belize police.

Late that year, McAfee fled from Belize to Guatemala, where he was taken into custody by local authorities. He eventually was deported and has not been charged with any crimes in Belize.

A year later, McAfee posted a bizarre YouTube video full of profanity, drugs, guns and scantily-clad women in which he complained about how he was still associated with the software company he founded in 1987.

The satirical clip -- entitled "How To Uninstall McAfee Antivirus" has been viewed over 10.6 million times.

© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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