14 Jan 2013

Internet activist Aaron Swartz dies aged 26

7:43 am on 14 January 2013

Aaron Swartz, a prominent internet freedom activist and early developer of the news sharing website Reddit has died at the age of 26.

The New York medical examiner's office said Mr Swartz took his own life at his Brooklyn apartment on Friday.

Mr Swartz began computer programming as a child, and at 14 co-authored specifications for RSS 1.0, an early version of the web feed format, Reuters reports.

RSS, which stands for Rich Site Summary, is a format for delivering to users content from sites that change constantly, such as news pages and blogs.

Aaron Swartz later became an advocate of internet freedom, played a key role in stopping an online piracy bill in Congress.

At the time of his death he was facing computer fraud and other charges related to the downloading of millions of academic papers from an online archive.

He pleaded not guilty and his trial was due to start in April.