‘Unabomber’ Ted Kaczynski had late-stage rectal cancer and was ‘depressed’ before prison suicide, autopsy says

(NBC NEWS) — Ted Kaczynski, the imprisoned domestic terrorist known as the “Unabomber,” was diagnosed with rectal cancer in March 2021, and a month prior to killing himself in June 2023, “was noted to be depressed and sent for psychiatric evaluation,” according to his autopsy report obtained by NBC News.

Kaczynski was 81, and a senior law enforcement official had said at the time that he had been diagnosed with cancer, although its type and severity were unclear.

Now, 10 months after Kaczynski died and NBC News first filed a Freedom of Information Act request related to his case, his autopsy report offers new details into the health and final months of a man who, for two decades, waged a deadly bombing spree that killed three people and injured 23 others. It ended with his capture in the Montana wilderness in 1996; he was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in North Carolina lists the cause of death as hanging, with a shoelace used as a ligature, at Kaczynski’s solitary cell at the Federal Medical Center in Butner, northeast of Durham.

Kaczynski’s death by suicide raises questions about whether it was preventable and why he had access to a shoelace, said Jack Donson, a retired longtime Federal Bureau of Prisons case manager and executive director of the Federal Prison Education and Reform Alliance, a nonprofit organization.

Read more at NBCNews.com.

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