Sad news in the online community today: Aaron Swartz, the 26-year-old Internet activist and co-founder of Reddit and Demand Progress, who did more before he turned 15 than we have with our entire lives, committed suicide in New York City last night, according to the MIT’s The Tech.
The accomplished Swartz co-authored the now widely-used RSS 1.0 specification at age 14, was one of the three co-owners of the popular social news site Reddit, and completed a fellowship at Harvard’s Ethics Center Lab on Institutional Corruption. In 2010, he founded DemandProgress.org, a “campaign against the Internet censorship bills SOPA/PIPA.”
Swartz was indicted in July 2011 by a federal grand jury for allegedly mass downloading documents from the JSTOR online journal archive with the intent to distribute them. He subsequently moved to Brooklyn, where he worked for Avaaz Foundation, a nonprofit “global web movement to bring people-powered politics to decision-making everywhere.” Swartz appeared in court on Sept. 24, 2012 and pleaded not guilty. (Via)
Swartz had discussed his history with depression in the past, including on his private website.
Surely there have been times when you’ve been sad. Perhaps a loved one has abandoned you or a plan has gone horribly awry. 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. (Via)
We’ll keep you updated on this sad story once we know more, but until then, here’s Reddit’s fitting tribute.