Software guru John McAfee, fighting deportation to Belize, was rushed to a hospital in Guatemala on Thursday shortly after his asylum request was rejected, but a suspected heart attack turned out to be stress in a fresh twist to the saga.
The 67-year-old US computer software pioneer was taken swiftly from a hospital in a police car out of the sight of media, after earlier arriving in an ambulance lying on a stretcher.
His lawyer said he was being taken back to an immigration department cottage where he has been detained since crossing illegally into Guatemala from neighboring Belize, where police want to question him in connection with his neighbor's murder.
"He never had a heart attack, nothing like that," said Telesforo Guerra, a former attorney general who had earlier said McAfee had two mild heart attacks.
"I'm not a doctor. I'm just telling you what the doctors told me," he added. "He was suffering from stress, hypertension and tachycardia (an abnormally fast heartbeat)."
McAfee was posting on his blog www.whoismcafee.com in the morning, the time he suffered the stress attack.
"I don't think a heart attack prevents one from using one's blog," Guerra had said at the time.
Guerra's assistant, Karla Paz, earlier said she found McAfee lying on the ground and unable to move his body or speak.
McAfee was detained by Guatemalan police on Wednesday for illegally sneaking across the border with his 20-year-old girlfriend to escape authorities in Belize. He has said he fears
authorities in Belize will kill him if he returns.
Guatemala's foreign minister, Harold Caballeros, said earlier McAfee's request for asylum was rejected.
Constitutional lawyer Gabriel Orellana, a former foreign minister, said the government should have given more weight to the asylum request rather than rush to a decision.
"We should take into account the fact that McAfee has not been accused of any crime in Belize," he said.
Quarreled with fellow American
Police in Belize want to quiz McAfee as "a person of interest" in the killing of a fellow American, Gregory Faull, with whom he had quarreled. But they say he is not a prime suspect in the probe.
McAfee says he has been persecuted