Reddit co-founder Aaron Swartz has died after committing suicide in New York City Friday, January 11.
The sad news was confirmed by MIT newspaper The Tech, which received word from Swartz’s attorney, Elliot R. Peters.
“The tragic and heartbreaking information you received is, regrettably, true,” Peters told the paper.
Swartz was just 26-year-old at the time of his death.
Born in Chicago, Illinois in 1986, Swartz developed a passion for computers at a young age.
When he was just 14-years-old, Aaron co-authored RSS 1.0 Specification. He later attended Stanford University, however he left after one year of studying, stating:
“I didn’t find it a very intellectual atmosphere, since most of the other kids seemed profoundly unconcerned with their studies.”
In addition to his work with Reddit, Swartz is credited with co-founding DemandProgress.org — a site which runs online campaigns to contact members of the United States Congress and other leaders — as well as Progressive Change Campaign Committee, watchdog.net, Open Library and Jottit.
Swartz is also famous for allegedly downloading documents from the JSTOR online journal archive with the intent to distribute them and was indicted in July 2011.
He reportedly pleaded not guilty to the charges and was released on $100,000 unsecured bail.
Following news of Aaaron’s suicide, Cory Doctorow, a friend, wrote a touching tribute for Swartz at Boing Boing:
“I’m so sorry for Aaron, and sorry about Aaron. My sincere condolences to his parents, whom I never met, but who loved their brilliant, magnificently weird son and made sure he always had chaperonage when he went abroad on his adventures. My condolences to his friends, especially Quinn and Lisa, and the ones I know and the ones I don’t, and to his comrades at DemandProgress.
“To the world: we have all lost someone today who had more work to do, and who made the world a better place when he did it.”