Internet Activist Aaron Swartz Commits Suicide
Aaron Swartz, online activist and founder of Infogami, a service later merged with Reddit, committed suicide in New York City on Jan. 11, the Tech reports.
The news was revealed to the Tech by Swartz’s uncle Michael Wolf and confirmed by Swartz’s attorney, Elliot R. Peters. “The tragic and heartbreaking information you received is, regrettably, true,” said Peters.
Born in 1986, Swartz co-authored the first specification of RSS when he was 14. He also started Infogami, a service funded by Y Combinator that was later merged with social networking site Reddit.
Swartz also co-founded Demand Progress, an advocacy group that rallies people “to take action on the news that affects them — by contacting Congress and other leaders, funding pressure tactics, and spreading the word in their own communities.”
In July 2011, Swartz was arrested for allegedly harvesting 4 million academic papers from the JSTOR online journal archive. He appeared in court in Sept. 2012, pleading not guilty.
A blog post from 2007 on Swartz’s website reveals a possible cause for taking his own life: depression. In the post, Swartz describes his experiences with severe depression, as well as several other health issues, including migraines.