2 years before his death, John McAfee posted a tweet saying, ‘If I suicide myself, I didn’t. I was whackd.’

John McAfee speaking at a lectern.
John McAfee. Fred Dufour/AFP via Getty Images
  • In 2019, John McAfee tweeted that if he were to appear to die by suicide it would not be true.
  • McAfee had also tweeted several times about Jeffrey Epstein’s death, claiming it was not a suicide.
  • After McAfee’s death in jail on Wednesday, the old tweet was shared widely, fueling speculation.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

A tweet posted by John McAfee in 2019, two years before his death by suicide, said he would not kill himself.

McAfee died on Wednesday in Barcelona, Spain, shortly after a court ruled that he could be extradited to the US on tax-evasion charges, Reuters reported.

His lawyer, Javier Villalba, told Reuters that the death was a suicide.

A spokeswoman for the Justice Department in Spain’s Catalonia region said that the death appeared to be a suicide but that a final determination would come after Spanish officials conduct an autopsy.

The tweet, posted in November 2019, said: “Getting subtle messages from U.S. officials saying, in effect: ‘We’re coming for you McAfee! We’re going to kill yourself’. I got a tattoo today just in case. If I suicide myself, I didn’t. I was whackd. Check my right arm.” It included a photo of a tattoo that said “$WHACKD.”

Almost a year later, in October, McAfee was arrested and detained in Barcelona.

-John McAfee (@officialmcafee) November 30, 2019

At the time of the tweet, McAfee was evading US tax authorities. He did not explain what “subtle messages” meant or provide any evidence of his extraordinary claim that he was a marked man.

Villalba told Reuters on Thursday that McAfee’s death was a surprise. “At no point had he shown any special worry or clue that could let us think this could have happened,” he said.

On June 15, McAfee argued against being sent back to the US, saying extradition would likely mean spending the rest of his life in prison.

Around the same time as the tweet, McAfee joined in the unfounded speculation – particularly among supporters of the QAnon conspiracy theory – that the death of the convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein in August 2019 was not a suicide. US authorities have officially ruled Epstein’s death a suicide.

Now McAfee’s tweet is inspiring similar speculation, Insider’s Rachel Greenspan and Steven Asarch reported.

The 2019 tweet had been shared more than 33,000 times as of early Thursday, including by WikiLeaks and Michelle Malkin, an anchor on the far-right channel Newsmax, who retweeted the post with the hashtag #IBELIEVEJOHNMCAFEE.

McAfee’s Instagram account was deleted after it posted an image of a Q following his death. It was unclear who ran the account or why it was deleted.

McAfee’s online statements had been called into question in the past. In August, he made headlines by tweeting that he had been arrested in Norway for wearing a thong as a face mask, then said it was a hoax to fool the media.

McAfee founded the McAfee antivirus-software company in 1987, and Intel bought it in 2010. He left the company in 1994 and later moved to Belize, where he became a subject of interest in the case of his neighbor’s death, for which he was found legally liable.

Before McAfee’s death, he was due to be extradited as part of a criminal investigation into his tax affairs. McAfee had described the charges as politically motivated.