A screenshot of John McAfee testifying to Spain's National High Court by video conference on June 15.
El Pais
  • John McAfee asked for time in his cell two hours before he was found dead, El País reported.
  • He had been in prison for 8 months awaiting an extradition ruling, which he lost Wednesday.
  • McAfee had access to social media, made philosophical posts, and claimed to be in good spirits.
  • See more stories on Business Insider SA's home page.

Two hours before John McAfee was found dead, he had requested to spend time in the cell that he shared with another prisoner, El País reported.

Ten days earlier, McAfee had argued in court that his looming extradition to the US on tax evasion charges would see him spend the rest of his life in prison.

But authorities did not find his argument persuasive, and at 16:00 local time on Wednesday he learned his extradition had been approved, the paper reported.

In Catalonia's Brian 2 prison, inmates can get some alone time in their cells in the afternoons if they have no other duties.

McAfee locked himself in alone, sources told the paper. Two hours later, prison staff found his body, the same sources said. He appeared to have killed himself by hanging.

His lawyer, Javier Villalba, told Reuters that McAfee died by suicide, a finding that was echoed by Catalonia's law enforcement body El Mossos D'Esquadra, El País reported.

The final determination will be made by autopsy, Reuters cited a Department of Justice official as saying.

McAfee tweeted more than once that he would never kill himself. The posts have since fuelled online speculation about his death - including among QAnon conspiracy theorists, as Insider's as Insider's Rachel Greenspan and Steven Asarch reported.

McAfee had not been on suicide watch, prison sources told El País.

Villalba also said the death was a shock. "At no point had he shown any special worry or clue that could let us think this could have happened," he told Reuters on Thursday.

In late May, McAfee said he'd been asked by another inmate how to kill himself, but didn't have any advice. But he said he was struck that suicide did not seem an odd prospect in prison.

McAfee posted about his mental state too. In late April he said incarceration had been "the most trying period of my life," and on June 8 noted that he was having "a down day." Other times he took a different view: on May 23 he wrote that he had "never felt more free" than in prison.

Thoughts on prison, love and power

McAfee had spent more than eight months in the prison - which he described as "dank" - at the time of his death.

His Twitter account has 1.1 million followers - perhaps unsurprising for a man with such a colourful life.

While locked up, he posted about prison conditions - whether that was his fellow inmates, Spanish prison food, or the limited reading materials.

There were also bursts of humour, such as when he speculated about farting ants.

According to his wife Janice, McAfee was well-liked by his fellow inmates, who called him "Papa America" and particularly appreciated his full set of teeth - useful for opening sauce packets and taking the filters out of cigarettes.

"I'm sure he will figure out a way to turn that into a business of some sort," she wrote in an update on April 23. He also shared his thoughts about love and power. Six days before his death, he posted a video. It is unclear when the video was made, as it appears to be recorded in a soundproofed room rather than in prison.

"Humans are compassionate, loving, gracious, kind, generous people," he said to camera We are simultaneously greedy, jealous, envious, angry - we're a mixed bag. And if you give one of the human species power, which part of ourselves uses it? Love?" He laughed. "Love does not need power, people."

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