Aaron Swartz, a programmer and Internet activist who co-founded a company that would eventually become Reddit, committed suicide Friday in N.Y. City.
And no, tragically, it's not a hoax, unlike so many memorable recent items emerging from Reddit. His lawyer confirmed the surprising news earlier today.
He was only 26 years old.
"The tragic and heartbreaking information you received is, regrettably, true," confirmed Swartz' attorney, Elliot R. Peters of Kecker and Van Nest, via email.
MIT's student newspaper The Tech was the first to report the suicide of Swartz, who had hinted at battles with depression numerous times in the past.
Still, his death came as a surprise to those close to him best.
A programmer and progressive, he created an early version of RSS at 14 and then founded Infogami, a website that would go on to merge with Reddit.
That site is now a popular online forum and video/image-sharing behemoth with an international reach among the top 100 across the entire Internet.
Swartz was indicted in July 2011 by a federal grand jury for allegedly downloading millions of documents from JSTOR through the MIT network.
Using a laptop hidden in a basement network closet in MIT’s Building 16, he was accused of obtaining the docs with intent to distribute them.
He appeared in court on September 24, 2012 and pleaded not guilty.
Swartz subsequently worked for the Avaaz Foundation, a nonprofit “global web movement to bring people-powered politics to decision-making everywhere.”