Reddit co-founder Aaron Swartz has taken his own life, hanging himself in his New York city apartment.
The 26-year-old internet prodigy, who at 14 co-authored an early version of RSS specification, was found on Friday medical examiners say.
After beginning computing as a child, Swartz's death comes weeks before he was due to stand trial for alleged hacking charges following an arrest in 2011.
Swartz, who suffered from depression, was charged with computer and wire fraud after allegedly stealing scientific journals running into the millions from Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Prosecutors claimed the internet freedom advocator was planning on making the documents freely available online, but Swartz denied the claims.
Facing a maximum 35 years in prison, along with a US$1 million fine if convicted, Swartz's family believes the case heavily contributed to his death, releasing the following statement:
"Aaron's death is not simply a personal tragedy. It is the product of a criminal justice system rife with intimidation and prosecutorial overreach.
"Decisions made by officials in the Massachusetts US Attorney's office and at MIT contributed to his death."
Do you think Swartz's suicide was impacted by his upcoming trial? Tell us your views and pay tribute to him below