Authorities told Reuters the reason was that McAfee’s family asked for further investigation into his cause of death after an autopsy determined that the businessman died by suicide.
The tycoon launched the world’s first commercial antivirus software in 1987. He was found dead on June 23, 2021 just hours after Spain’s Superior Court authorized his extradition to the United States on tax evasion charges.
McAfee had been incarcerated for eight months at Brians Prison 2 in the Barcelona area after spending years on the run from US authorities.
Prison center where John McAfee was found dead this Wednesday (23), in Barcelona – Photo: Albert Gea/Reuters
Shortly after his death, McAfee’s widow said he was not suicidal and would seek “answers”.
“It’s hard to put into words what life was like last year,” Janice McAfee tweeted Thursday, urging users to sign an online petition to help pressure Spanish authorities to release McAfee’s remains.
The petition, signed by 1,365 people so far, calls for an independent autopsy. to determine whether the official cause of death can be challenged or investigated privately.
John McAfee, founder of McAfee, who created the first commercial antivirus, now invests in a secure smartphone. — Photo: Personal Archive/John McAfee
McAfee’s family further considered the original autopsy to be incomplete and asked for further checks, which were denied by a local judge, attorney Javier Villalba said on Wednesday.
The family appealed that decision. A judge then ruled that McAfee’s body could not be turned over to the family until the appeal was resolved.
Accused of tax evasion
The Spanish court had authorized McAfee’s extradition to the United States, where he was accused of tax infringement. There was still the possibility of appeal and the authorization had to be approved by the Spanish government.
According to the US extradition request filed in November 2020, McAfee earned more than $12 million between 2014 and 2018 without filing taxes. US authorities issued an arrest warrant by Interpol and requested his extradition.
The programmer was arrested in October at Barcelona airport while trying to board a flight to Istanbul. He himself reportedly admitted that he had not paid US taxes for more than eight years.
Photo from 2016 shows John McAfee speaking during a conference in Beijing (Photo: Fred Dufour/AFP)
Of an American father and a British mother, McAfee was born in England in 1945 but grew up in the United States. He studied mathematics and worked as a programmer for NASA between 1968 and 1970.
McAfee worked at companies such as Univac and Xerox, before arriving at Loockheed in the 1980s, where he began developing software to fight computer viruses. He was one of the pioneers in this protection technology.
John McAfee: 7 facts about the life of one of the antivirus pioneers
In 1987, the programmer founded McAfee Associates. At first, he offered the service for free to ordinary users. Then he started selling it to different companies.
In 1992, McAfee antivirus was used by many American and multinational companies, which led the entrepreneur to make a public offering on the Stock Exchange.
In 1994, McAfee left the company and then sold all of his shares in 1996.