Internet activist Aaron Swartz commits suicide

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Well-known in tech circles, he was a co-owner of social news site Reddit

SWARTZ. Internet activist Aaron Swartz in 2008. Photo by Fred Benenson off Wikipedia.

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Internet activist Aaron H. Swartz is dead.

He committed suicide, according to The Tech, the online newspaper of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). 

The news was first relayed in a comment to The Tech by Swartz’s uncle, Michael Wolf.

Elliot R. Peters, Swartz’s attorney, confirmed the information, saying, “The tragic and heartbreaking information you received is, regrettably, true.”

Swartz was well known in a number of tech-related circles, first for co-authoring RSS 1.0 at the age of 14, then by becoming a co-owner of social news site Reddit. He was an advisory board director for Demand Progress, an organization that fights for Internet freedom.

In 2011, Swartz was charged with data theft when he downloaded more than 4 million documents from the MIT and JSTOR, the journal archiving service.

The family of Aaron Swartz released a statement over the weekend, explaining that Swartz “hanged himself on Friday in his Brooklyn apartment.”

Author Cory Doctorow posted his own tribute to Aaron Swartz on website, along with additional tributes from people who knew him and were close to him in various fields. In it, Doctorow describes how Swartz was suffering from and open about his depression, which may have contributed to his suicide.

At the same time, a report from Agence France-Presse discussed how people from various institutions have also shown an outpouring of both grief and anger at the events that have outlined Swartz’ passing.-

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