Internet Revolutionary Aaron Swartz, 26, Kills Himself Amid Legal Battle

An early builder of Reddit and activist who fought to make online content free to the public committed suicide on Friday, prompting an outpouring of grief from prominent voices on the intersection of free speech and the Web.

Aaron Swartz, 26, hanged himself in his Brooklyn apartment weeks before he was to go on trial on accusations that he stole millions of journal articles from an electronic archive in an attempt to make them freely available. If convicted, he faced decades in prison and a fortune in fines.

He was pronounced dead Friday evening at home in Brooklyn’s Crown Heights neighborhood, said Ellen Borakove, spokeswoman for New York’s chief medical examiner. Police went to the apartment after receiving an emergency services call from Swartz’s girlfriend, who found him.


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