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Tech mogul John McAfee spent his final hours alone inside his jail cell in a Spanish prison, distraught over the decision earlier Wednesday to extradite him to the US on tax evasion charges.
The 75-year-old antivirus software tycoon had complained to Spanish authorities that he was in poor health and feared that he would spend the remainder of his life behind bars, according to a report in the Spanish newspaper El Pais.
Around 4 p.m. Wednesday, he had asked to go to his cell, which was empty because his cellmate was not there at the time, the newspaper said.
Two hours later, guards found him hanging in the cell in an apparent suicide. McAfee was declared dead after prison officials were unable to resuscitate him.
Officials at the Brians 2 prison in Sant Esteve de Sesrovires said McAfee had not been considered a suicide threat, which would have called for 24-hour supervision.
“We were the first to be surprised,” one of the guards told El Pais.
The eccentric enterpreneur had been at the Barcelona prison since Oct. 4 and was considered a model inmate, described by sources at the penitentiary as “a financial crimes prisoner with an absolutely normal life.”
But McAfee had pleaded with a Spanish tribunal to deny a US request to extradite him to Tennessee, where federal prosecutors filed tax evasion charges against him last year.
According to El Pais, he also asked the court to deny the extradition on humanitarian grounds, claiming he was in “delicate health” and had “serious health problems.”
He received the court’s decision Wednesday morning and later retreated to his cell with the tribunal’s document still held in his hands, the report said.
Catalan police have determined that McAfee died from an apparent suicide and said they have found no evidence of foul play.
“This is the result of a cruel system that had no reason to keep this man in jail for so long,” said McAfee’s lawyer in Spain, Javier Villalba.
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