Even in death, antivirus software pioneer John McAfee has proven that trolling is eternal. McAfee was found dead from an apparent suicide on June 23, 2021, in a jail cell in Sant Esteve Sesrovires, Spain. This was shortly after a panel of judges approved his extradition to the United States to face outstanding charges in Tennessee related to firearms possession and DUI. He was also likely to face a charges of federal tax evasion. He was 75.
McAfee, whatever his cause of death, laid the groundwork in his Twitter feed some time back for muddying the circumstances surrounding it, heavily implying that there was no way his passing would be his own handiwork. In fact, McAfee clearly wanted to ensure that the cause of his death was always in doubt because he tied the idea to the apparent suicide of disgraced financier and sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.
In 1987 McAfee developed the first-ever commercial anti-virus software and founded McAfee Associates. Seven years later he was a multimillionaire. He resigned and sold his stake in the company.
While McAfee continued for years to keep a hand in software development, over time he grew much more famous — or infamous — for alleged lawbreaking and general craziness. Not just financial crimes like hiding profits from the IRS but in 2012 he was even accused of killing his neighbor in Belize, Gregory Faull. By the time he ended up incarcerated in Spain (October 2020), McAfee was far more well-known for what could be at best termed his eccentricities.
The tech guru likely knew his tweets would one day stir (classic trolling dating back to the earliest online forums) reactions from many corners, and he was right. A sampling below from skeptics and non-skeptics alike:
If you're not up on all the conspiracies about the apparent jail suicide of Jeffrey Epstein, Vox has more:
Some of these theories are more credible than others; there is some evidence, for instance, that Epstein intended to blackmail his associates. But overall, the circumstances of Epstein’s life and career are essentially tailor-made to produce conspiracy theories.
There is his wealth — he had multiple mansions and private jets, but no one knows how exactly he made his money. There were his powerful friends, some of whom — including Bill Clinton and Donald Trump — have also been accused of sexual misconduct. Then there was the fact that he was able to avoid prosecution for years, under circumstances that remain mysterious.
It's rational to look at the deaths of wealthy and — at least at one time — connected men like McAfee and Epstein and wonder if something hinky was afoot. Both likely knew about some seriously bad skeletons hiding in the closets of other famous folks, including some ex-presidents.
It's also just as rational to acknowledge that someone who has finally realized all their money might not save them from prison might just elect to handle business their own way. According to CNN, a statement from Spanish authorities said, "'everything indicates' that McAfee could have died by suicide."
McAfee's apparent post-mortem publishing of a "Q" on Instagram was intended to rile Q Anon believers, whom Salon once concisely explained believe "that there is a worldwide cabal of Satan-worshiping pedophiles who rule the world, essentially, and they control everything."
McAfee, who even while facing major legal troubles could not resist pulling all kinds of publicity stunts, knew what he was doing. Trolling to the very end and beyond.