A cryptic black-and-white image of the letter ‘Q’ appeared on John McAfee’s Instagram page shortly after it was announced that the antivirus pioneer had been found dead in his prison cell on 23 June, sparking conspiracy theories about the “real” causes behind his passing.
It’s not clear who posted the image – which was an apparent reference to the QAnon conspiracy theory, that suggests the existence of world-powerful Satanic paedophiles who run a child sex trafficking ring – but McAfee’s official Instagram page has been deactivated ever since.
McAfee was found dead just hours after it was ruled that he would be extradited to the US to face charges related to tax evasion. A preliminary investigation concluded that the controversial antivirus mogul died from suicide, according to the Catalan justice department, despite his previous warnings on Twitter that he wasn’t planning on ending his life. Rather, he said, it was some unnamed US officials who were going to make him “kill yourself”.
Rumour confirmed. McAfee Q pic has a cryptographic KEY embedded in the image file. I was able to view this in Photoshop.— RefuseNikRed (@RefusenikRed) June 23, 2021
And Epstein didn't kill himself.
Instructions: FBMD23000965010000290400004b0400009d0400007a0c0000f90d0000af1000005e1200000414000068170000 pic.twitter.com/vCep3o5Bwz
‘McAfee Didn’t Kill Himself’
McAfee was arrested in Spain in October 2020 over US charges concerning his tax returns over a four-year period. Shortly after his arrest, he tweeted about his Spanish jail:
“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.”
Jeffrey Epstein was an American financier accused of the sex trafficking and abuse of dozens of underage girls and young women, all while maintaining friendships with the world's most powerful people, including the Clinton and the Trumps families, as well as with British royal Prince Andrew. He was found dead in his prison cell in August 2019, with authorities ruling that he'd died from suicide despite many inconsistencies in the case.
McAfee’s death immediately sparked a flurry of messages on Twitter suggesting that the man, like Epstein, hadn’t ended his life voluntarily.
Thursday reminder:— Cait✨ (@mysticait_) June 24, 2021
Epstein didn’t kill himself
McAfee didn’t kill himself
Have a lovely day ❤️
John McAfee didn't kill himself.— Xythol (@_Xythol_) June 24, 2021
Jeffrey Epstein didn't kill himself.
How many does it take? https://t.co/KazyMbaJ5D
Is John McAfee really dead? I have a feeling he is now in safe hands. He had so much information on ALL of them. 😎— Resplendant Jinx 🌸🐸😊❤️ (@wrigglycarriet) June 24, 2021
He certainly didn’t kill himself. That I have no doubt.
There was another unusual circumstance in McAfee’s death, who was facing decades in an American jail if found guilty. Just days before his passing, the businessman’s wife Janice McAfee shared a controversial post on Twitter, saying that the US authorities were “determined to have John die in prison”.
“I know John is an extremely polarising individual. Believe me, I know this better than most! But I also know, as well as any of you who follow him on Twitter, that he has always been honest about who he is. ALWAYS. Sometimes too honest, sometimes sharing more than any of us cared to know about him!” the woman said.
“John's honesty has often gotten him in trouble with corrupt governments and corrupt government officials because of his outspoken nature and his refusal to be extorted, intimidated or silenced.”
In 2019, McAfee, who was in hiding at that time, shared a series of cryptic messages, claiming that he had “collected files on corruption in government”.
“For the first time, I’m naming names and specifics,” he tweeted in June 2019 from Cuba.
In November of the same year, he warned that US officials were “coming” for him and were about to have him killed under the pretext of suicide, all while advertising a “whackd” tattoo on his right arm to prove his point.
~McAfee didn’t kill himself.~ pic.twitter.com/PtzkpI03F5— Auntie Mame (@YourAuntieMame) June 23, 2021
In one of his recent Twitter posts, apparently dictated to his wife from behind bars and pinned on his Twitter page, McAfee said that all his crypto assets were now “dissolved” or “seized”, while his friends “evaporated through fear of association”.
“I have nothing. Yet, I regret nothing,” the 75-year-old wrote.