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Online Activist Aaron Swartz, 26, Found Dead

Wendy Maeda/The Boston Globe via Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Aaron Swartz, a precocious web pioneer who advocated for free online content, was found dead in his Brooklyn, N.Y., apartment of an apparent suicide.

Swartz, 26, was discovered hanged in his apartment on Friday, according to The New York Times.

Swartz’s federal trial on computer fraud charges was scheduled to begin next month. In 2011, Swartz was arrested after prosecutors alleged he illegally downloaded millions of scientific journals from an online archive within the Massachusetts Institute of Technology network.

He pleaded not guilty to the charges.

When Swartz was 14 years old, he helped create RSS software, revolutionizing the way people subscribed to and consumed information online.

As an adult, he co-founded Reddit, a social news website, and rallied against Internet censorship through the political action group Demand Progress.

Technology bloggers paid tribute to the the man who “had more work to do, and who made the world a better place when he did it.”

“Aaron had an unbeatable combination of political insight, technical skill, and intelligence about people and issues,” Cory Doctorow posted on Boing Boing.

And in true Aaron Swartz fashion, Doctorow’s lengthy tribute came with a disclaimer: “To the extent possible under law, Cory Doctorow has waived all copyright and related or neighboring rights to ‘RIP, Aaron Swartz.’”

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