John McAfee's Insane Life and Death — Including Faking His Hearts Attacks and Legal Troubles

Edduin Carvajal
Jun 26, 2021
06:40 A.M.
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Computer programmer and businessman John McAfee, known for creating the first commercial anti-virus software, passed away in prison. He lived a wild life filled with legal troubles.


Born in England in 1945, John McAfee was arguably one of the most notorious computer programmers of our time, and he faced some challenges growing up.

He and his parents moved to Virginia when he was young, but his road surveyor dad had alcohol issues. Unfortunately, he died by suicide when McAfee was 15 years old.

John McAfee in Beijing on August 16, 2016 | Photo: Getty Images



Time went by, and McAfee became an alcoholic during his time at Roanoke College. He also began making money by selling magazines door to door. In the late 60s, he landed a job at a company that coded punch-card systems.

With this knowledge, he began working at Missouri Pacific Railroad and helped them use an IBM computer system. During that time, McAfee started using hard drugs.


The 70s and early-80s were a rollercoaster. Although he lived in Silicon Valley and worked at different tech companies, his constant drug use made him feel alone and scared. Finally, McAfee got sober in 1983, but his sobriety didn't last long.

His life changed in 1986 with the discovery of the first computer virus. After reading about it, he created his own company to mount a defense against them. By 1987, he had already written the first commercial anti-virus software.


In 1994, when McAfee Associates was already a multimillion-dollar business, John McAfee resigned and sold his shares two years later, pocketing about $100 million.

He lived a low-key life for over a decade, but after the financial crisis of 2008, he lost most of his fortune. McAfee then sold everything he had in the States and moved to Belize. That was when things turned ugly.



Once in Belize, John McAfee founded Quorumex to create medicines using plants. However, he began thinking he was being watched all the time and eventually withdrew from society.

In 2012, his neighbor Gregory Faull was found dead, and McAfee became a person of interest. After being interrogated by authorities, he went into hiding. He then contacted Wired to tell his side of the story.


Apart from saying he was innocent, McAfee admitted he thought the government was trying to kill him but “got the wrong man.” He also criticized Belize’s legal process and seemed afraid to be held in custody there.

“Everything indicates” that John McAfee died by suicide


Eventually, John McAfee was arrested in Guatemala, where he was trying to get asylum. Once there, the government put him in jail for entering the country illegally and denied his asylum request.

Authorities tried to deport him to Belize, but he faked a heart attack to buy his attorney some time to file appeals. His strategy worked as he was not sent back to Belize but to the US. He was never arrested or charged for Faull’s death.



In 2012, after McAfee was deported, he met his wife, Janice Dyson. He initially hired her as an escort, but they fell in love and tied the knot in 2013.

John McAfee’s wife was working for a violent pimp before meeting her husband, so she said he “saved her.” Before Janice, McAfee was married twice. Not many details of his first wife are available, though.


His second wife, Judy, is a former flight attendant who helped him found his eponymous company in the 80s. They parted ways in 2002. It is unclear how many children McAfee had, but he once claimed he had 47.

In 2015, McAfee announced he was running for president but had very little support. Then, in October 2020, he was arrested in Spain. McAfee did not file tax returns between 2014 and 2018 even though he reportedly earned millions.


According to the U.S. Justice Department, his extradition from Spain to the States was “pending.” On June 23, 2021, hours after his extradition was approved, McAfee was found dead in his prison cell.

Although the cause of death is still under investigation, authorities released a statement pointing out that “everything indicates” that John McAfee died by suicide. Rest in peace.

If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), text "help" to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 or go to suicidepreventionlifeline.org.


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