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Aaron Swartz, Founder of Reddit Hangs Himself in Brooklyn Apartment

Aaron Swartz, an online activist and co-founder of the popular social media site Reddit, committed suicide in his apartment in New York Friday, just weeks before going on trial on federal hacking charges. He was 26 years old.

The news of Swartz’s untimely death was confirmed to MIT’s The Tech by both his uncle and his lawyer Saturday morning. 

Swartz’s uncle, Michael Wolf, told the New York Times that the programmer had hanged himself, and his body was discovered by his girlfriend inside his home in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn at around 9.30am.

Police told the New York Daily  News that the 26-year-old man ended his life by  hanging himself from a belt in his seventh-floor unit on Sullivan Place. He left  no suicide note.

Tragic end: Aaron Swartz, a programmer and Internet activist who co-founded a company that would eventually grow into Reddit, committed suicide Friday in New York City

Swartz was a gifted programmer who  helped  develop the RSS at age 14. He then went on to start a company that would  eventually merge with Reddit, as well as  Demand Progress, a political action  group that campaigns against  Internet censorship.

He was arrested  in 2011 for allegedly  downloading more than four million academic journals  with intent to distribute  them free of charge through file-sharing  sites. He  faced up to 35 years in prison if convicted.

In the past, the 26-year-old hinted at a  battle with depression, according to Gawker.

In a 2007 speech, the Internet advocate   described himself as being ‘miserable’ after moving to San Francisco when his  company was purchased by the publishing giant Conde Nast.

‘I couldn’t stand San Francisco. I couldn’t  stand office life,’ he said at the time. ‘I took a long Christmas vacation. I  got sick. I thought of suicide. I ran from the police. And when I got back on  Monday morning, I was asked to resign.’

In a blog post from later that year, Swartz  went into further detail regarding his bout with depression, writing:

‘Your face falls. Perhaps you cry. You feel  worthless. You wonder whether  it’s worth going on. Everything you think about  seems bleak – the things you’ve done, the things you hope to do, the people  around you.

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Posted by on January 12, 2013. Filed under NY News,Slider. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.