via USA Today:
David Kernell, the University of Tennessee-Knoxville student who guessed his way into Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin’s personal email account in 2008, died last week in California. He was 30.
Kernell, son of Shelby County Schools board member and former Democratic state representative Mike Kernell, died of complications related to progressive multiple sclerosis (MS) late Friday or early Saturday, his family confirmed in a statement Thursday.
David Kernell, once ranked in the top 10% of chess players in the U.S., was a 20-year-old economics major at UT when he guessed the security answers to enter Palin’s Yahoo! account, changed the password to “popcorn,” and then posted the new password, family photographs and some emails on the online message board 4chan under the pseudonym “Rubico.”
In 2010, after all but one of the felony charges were dropped, he served 10 months in a minimum-security prison for obstruction of justice after destroying evidence from his computer. He also was convicted of a misdemeanor for illegally accessing Palin’s email.
In a page-long statement regarding his death, the family said Kernell was diagnosed with MS in 2014 and participated in clinical research trials at the Cedars-Sinai Neurosciences Research Center in Los Angeles to help develop cures and treatments for other victims of MS.
“David did not let (the Palin) incident define him,” the family said. “He returned to UT Knoxville to complete his economics degree and further refined his programming skills by helping his local community. (USA Today)
via Sarah Palin’s Facebook page:
My heartfelt condolences to the Kernell family. I can not fathom losing a child, at any age, and can only imagine the sorrow. I am so sorry for their loss. As the Kernell family said, the 2008 incident does not define David. He went on to do good for his family and community. I would ask the public to let David’s good memory supersede anything else. My family and I pray that David’s family is enveloped in peace, knowing God has their son, awaiting a reunion someday.
– Sarah Palin
* Sarah Palin photo courtesy Gage Skidmore
* David Kernell photo courtesy U.S. Marshals Service