Big “Q”: Questions surround John McAfee’s death
06/28/2021 // Nolan Barton // Views

Software pioneer John McAfee's Instagram account on Wednesday, June 23, posted the letter "Q" just minutes after a news outlet shared the news that he was found dead in his jail cell from an apparent suicide.

McAfee's body was found at a facility near Barcelona just hours after Spain's National Court approved his extradition to the U.S., where he is wanted on tax-related criminal charges carrying a prison sentence of up to 30 years.

Local paper El Pais first reported the 75-year-old tech mogul's death. Thirty minutes later, the black letter "Q" on top of a white background appeared on his social media account.

The letter appears to be a reference to QAnon, a conspiracy theory that was tied to former President Donald Trump. Also known as "Q," QAnon is a discredited far-right conspiracy theory about pedophiles running a worldwide child sex trafficking ring and conspiring against Trump during his term in office.

Instagram users responded to the post by commenting: "RIP," "this man did not kill himself," "Q" and "Epstein 2.0."

McAfee: If I hang myself, a la Epstein, it will be no fault of mine

According to reports, McAfee once shared a photo in 2019 of himself in an altered image of Jeffrey Epstein who was found dead in a prison cell that same year. (Related: Alt media was exposing Epstein corruption as ABC was covering it up — Who's the real fake news?)

"I never said Jeffrey Epstein was murdered. I said he didn't commit suicide. Not the same," McAfee wrote alongside the image. "Could be alive. Could have never existed. Maybe murdered. I dunno. I only know he didn't commit suicide."


McAfee had previously said on Twitter in 2019 that if authorities had ever determined he had committed suicide it meant that he had been killed. He appeared to show off a tattoo reading "whackd" in a tweet as he accused U.S. officials of targeting him.

"Getting subtle messages from U.S. officials saying, in effect: 'We're coming for you McAfee! We're going to kill yourself,'" he wrote. "I got a tattoo today just in case. If I suicide myself, I didn't. I was whackd. Check my right arm."

And on October 15, 2020, once he was already in jail, McAfee tweeted: "I am content in here. I have friends. The food is good. All is well. Know that if I hang myself, a la Epstein, it will be no fault of mine."

Local judicial delegation took McAfee's body for autopsy

Spanish authorities have opened an investigation into McAfee's death.

"Everything indicates that it could be a death by suicide," a spokeswoman for the Catalan regional government's Department of Justice said on Thursday, June 24. The spokeswoman added that a local judicial delegation investigating the cause and circumstances of McAfee's death took his body away from the jail to carry out an autopsy.

According to the spokeswoman, McAfee's body was found in his cell at around 7 p.m. local time. Security personnel tried to resuscitate him, but the jail's medical team later declared him dead. McAfee shared the cell with another man, but he was alone when he was found.

McAfee's Spanish lawyer, Javier Villalba, said the director of the prison where his client was detained told him on Wednesday that his client was found hanging. He said that he wasn't given more information and that he was waiting for the results of the investigation being carried out by Spanish authorities.

McAfee: Taxation is illegal

McAfee, founder of antivirus software company McAfee Corp., was arrested by Spanish National Police at Barcelona's El Prat airport in October last year when he was about to board a plane to Turkey.

That same month, he was charged in Tennessee for failing to file tax returns for four years despite earning millions from consulting work, speaking engagements, cryptocurrencies and selling the rights to his life story. (Related: John McAfee accidentally just revealed why Bitcoin is a total fraud: Behold the logic of "artificial work.")

The Department of Justice alleged that McAfee evaded tax liability by having his income paid into bank accounts and cryptocurrency exchange accounts in the names of nominees. He was also accused of concealing assets, including a yacht and real estate property, also in other people's names.

Nishay Sanan, an attorney representing McAfee in U.S. criminal proceedings, said his client had intended to fight all the charges.

"This is again the U.S. government trying to erase John McAfee," Sanan said. "This man was a fighter. And in the minds of everyone who knew him, he will always be a fighter."

McAfee first fled the U.S. in January 2019 for what he described as a period of exile during which he would be free to exercise his libertarian beliefs. That same year, McAfee tweeted that he had not filed tax returns for eight years because "taxation is illegal."

Visionary and key figure in technology scene

Born on a U.S. Army base in Gloucestershire, England in 1945, McAfee first came to prominence in the 1980s when he founded his tech company and released McAfee VirusScan. He sold his antivirus company to Intel for $7.7 billion in 2011.

Although a pioneer of computer security, he once admitted to the BBC that he never actually used any security software on his own computers.

"I protect myself by constantly changing my IP [internet protocol] address, by not attaching my name to any device I use, and by not going on to sites where you might pick up a virus," he told the BBC's technology reporter Leo Kelion in 2013.

McAfee was a visionary that helped create a multi-billion computer security software industry. He will be remembered as a key figure in the development of the technology scene in the 1980s and 1990s.

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