Reddit Co-founder Aaron Swartz Commits Suicide at Age 26
RT reports that 26-year-old Aaron Swartz, co-founder of Reddit, hanged himself on January 11 in his Brooklyn apartment. Swartz’s uncle and attorney confirmed the news to MIT’s The Tech.
According to Business Insider, those who knew Aaron describe him as someone who was very involved with freedom issues, but someone who also struggled with a history of depression. Aaron was very open with his depression, even writing about it on his blog.
Before taking his life, Aaron was facing potential jail time for sneaking into MIT and downloading documents from the JSTOR online journal archive. According to RT, if convicted, Aaron was facing up to 35 years in jail and a $1 million fine for the theft of the documents with intent to post online. His trial was scheduled for February 2013.
Aaron’s mother wrote a statement the day after her son’s death on Hacker News: “Aaron has been depressed about his case/upcoming trial, but we had no idea what he was going through was this painful. Aaron was a terrific young man. He contributed a lot to the world in his short life and I regret the loss of all the things he had yet to accomplish. As you can imagine, we all miss him dearly. The grief is unfathomable.”
Aaron had previously co-founded Demand Progress, an advocacy website that focused on policy changes for civil liberties, civil rights, and government reform, before he founded Infogami, the service that would later merge with Reddit.