Internet activist Aaron Swartz, who played a key role in stopping an online piracy bill in the United States, has committed suicide, New York's chief medical examiner ruled last night.
The 26-year-old was found dead at his Brooklyn apartment yesterday. He helped create an early version of the web feed system, RSS, which provides constant news updates from websites. Tim Berners-Lee, who is credited as one of the inventors of the internet, tweeted: "World wanderers, we have lost a wise elder. Hackers for right, we are one down. Parents all, we have lost a child. Let us weep."
In 2011, Mr Swartz was indicted on computer fraud and other charges related to the unauthorised download of academic journal articles. He pleaded not guilty. His trial was due to start in April. Mr Swartz later founded the group Demand Progress and led a successful campaign to block a bill introduced in the House of Representatives called the Stop Online Piracy Act. The bill would have allowed court orders to curb access to certain websites considered to be illegally sharing intellectual property.