Aaron Swartz, found dead of an apparent suicide Friday in New York, was only 26. The Redditor "co-founder" and digital visionary, who suffered from depression, was also an outspoken activist against SOPA and similar initiatives.
On Jan. 12, Huffington Post wrote that Aaron Swartz's death was confirmed by his attorney and uncle. While Swartz hinted about his struggles with depression, the news of his suicide still shocked those close to him.
Perhaps, the most telling examples of Aaron's struggles with depression were in a blog post in 2007. During that time, the Reddit co-founder's company was purchased by Conde Nast and he knew it was a matter of time before he was booted out.
An excerpt from "Sick" reads:
"Your face falls. Perhaps you cry. You feel worthless. You wonder whether it's worth going on. Everything you think about seems bleak - the things you've done, the things you hope to do, the people around you. You want to lie in bed and keep the lights off. Depressed mood is like that, only it doesn't come for any reason and it doesn't go for any either. Go outside and get some fresh air or cuddle with a loved one and you don't feel any better, only more upset at being unable to feel the joy that everyone else seems to feel. Everything gets colored by the sadness."
The Daily Beast points out that Swartz was a very gifted computer programmer, who was the brains behind early RSS. But get this: he was only 14 at the time.
He was arrested in 2011 and charged with allegedly illegally downloading millions of documents from JSTOR with the intent to distribute them freely online.
While Swartz pled not guilty to federal charges, he still faced a jail sentence if convicted. Sources say part of his struggles was obtaining a legal defense fund to put up a strong case against the government.
Ironically, two days before Aaron Swartz was found dead, JSTOR made the decision to all limited access to its archives for the public's use.