Reddit co-founder Aaron Swartz dies at 26

Posted on January 13, 2013 08:52 pm

Reddit co founder Aaron Swartz, one of the best Internet genius in our generation has been pronounced dead at the age of 26. I learned about his sudden death when I saw his name trending on Twitter with some posts stating he committed suicide. I will remember him because he helped deliver new Web content to users through co development of Reddit and RSS before he become a digital activist. At the time of his death, Swartz, who had gone on to press for free public access to Web content, was few weeks away from facing trial on accusations of millions of scientific and literary journal articles theft from the subscription only JSTOR service and faced a lengthy jail term in prison and $1 million in hefty fines if he would have been convicted.Apparently, one of the tweets posted said that Swartz’s family and friends placed part of the blame for his suicide on prosecutors and the famous Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where Swartz made the JSTOR download using a laptop he placed in a utility closet.

Another Tweet quoted the family as saying that Aaron’s death is not simply a personal tragedy and the death was a product of a criminal justice system rife with intimidation and prosecutorial overreach and that decisions made by officials in the Massachusetts US Attorney’s Office and at MIT contributed to his death. In less than three weeks, Swartz was said to have downloaded more than 18 million pages with an estimated value of $1.5 million to his home. Few weeks ago, I did personally visit his blog and read a post dating five years back where Swartz had publicly discussed his battle with depression.Swartz wrote; There is a moment, immediately before life becomes no longer worth living, when the world appears to slow down and all its myriad details suddenly become brightly, achingly apparent. Cory Doctorow met Swartz after he had already helped develop the RSS tool for users to get updates from blogs, news headlines and other online content. He later co-founded the social news website Reddit. In his condolence message through his blog, Doctorow wrote on his Boing Boing blog that ,”In so many ways, he was an adult, even then, with a kind of intense, fast intellect that really made me feel like he was part and parcel of the Internet society”. He continued by adding that Aaron was also a person who’d had problems with depression for many years. Whatever the problems Aaron was facing, killing himself didn’t solve them. Whatever problems Aaron was facing, they will go unsolved forever. Just like many Twitter users, may his soul rest in eternal peace!


Contador Harrison