Sir Tim Berners-Lee among the first to pay tribute to internet activist Aaron Swartz
Internet activist and co-founder of Reddit, Aaron Swartz, has committed suicide at the age of 26.
Swartz, who at 14 co-authored an early version of the RSS 1.0 script, took his life in his New York apartment on Friday.
He was an advocate of internet freedom, and was among the founders of the Demand Progress campaign group, which lobbies against internet censorship. At the time of his death he was facing hacking charges relating to the downloading of millions of academic papers from online archive, JSTOR.
Swartz's lawyer Elliot R. Peters confirmed the news, stating in an email to the MIT university newspaper The Tech: "The tragic and heartbreaking information you received is, regrettably, true."
Swartz's family released a statement on Saturday which praised his "brilliance" and "profound" commitment to social justice. It continued: "Aaron's death is not simply a personal tragedy. It is the product of a criminal justice system rife with intimidation and prosecutorial overreach."
Tributes also came from other major figures in his field, including Sir Tim Berners-Lee - the British inventor of the world wide web – who said in a Twitter post: "Aaron dead. World wanderers, we have lost a wise elder. Hackers for right, we are one down. Parents all, we have lost a child. Let us weep." Berners-Lee’s commemorative Tweet has so far received nearly 3,000 retweets.