"I didn't want to die," he wrote. "If I could have waved a magic wand and lived for 200 years, I would have. Unfortunately, that's not an option.
"Therefore, since death is inevitable, the better question is... do I want to live as long as humanly possible OR do I want to control the time and manner and circumstances of my death? That was my choice (and yours). I chose what was most appealing to me."
In the days afterward, some observers saw other factors, though.
Manley was twice divorced. He had no children, no nieces or nephews. His parents had both died: his mother in 2002, then his father in 2007. He had one sister and one brother and neither lived nearby or visited much.
Almost all of the recent photographs of him on his website appeared to be "selfies."
Those closest to Manley, though, backed his version.
"Well maybe he needed help, but he would never have admitted it or accepted it," his sister, Barbie Flick, wrote on a memorial site set up for him by a friend. "As far as lonely -- I believe that everyone who knew Martin, very much enjoyed his company."
When Yahoo, which Manley prepaid to host the site for five years, took it down, Flick fought to have it restored, saying her brother's final wish should be honored. Numerous "mirror" versions of the site, including one by people identifying as members of the "hacktivist" group Anonymous, popped up soon after, preserving access to Manley's final thoughts for those who are interested.
"I believe that he knew he could be around friends as much as he liked," Flick said. "I know I never got to see him as much as I would have like(d) to. He just really enjoyed being alone and working on his blog or researching this or that."
'Something I'm thinking about doing'
Todd Weller, who created the memorial site, wrote that in recent months, Manley leaned on his technology skills.
"He was asking me very specifically how to do certain things like, how to post an mp3 file or how to use FTP, etc.," he wrote. "I told him that on some (of) these things I could do it for him way faster than I could tell him how to do it. To which he would offer a lame excuse like, it's just something I'm thinking about doing."
Efforts to reach Weller and Flick for this story, through the memorial site and other online messages, were unsuccessful.
They and others remembered a unique and quirky man, facts Manley readily acknowledged.
He ate one meal a day, sometimes nothing at all, and had "consistently inconsistent" sleep habits. At one point, he experimented with staying awake 36 hours at a time, then sleeping for 12.
He had a collection of 25 fedora hats, boasted about wearing the same pair of $12 Wal-Mart shoes for 12 years and played a monthly game of dollar poker that welcomed obscure variations of the game with names like "Three Turds" and "No Peak."
He had a collection of more than 1,000 movies on VHS tape, along with a computer database that would sort them by title, rating, year and genre. (He had his own rating system for them, too. He only handed out 21 perfect "10" scores over the years and his absolute favorite film was the 1986 adaptation of "Little Shop of Horrors."
And it appears Manley may have even played a practical joke to tweak the greedy in his long farewell. In the section of his site detailing his collection of gold and silver coins, a random set of GPS coordinates appears, along with a tiny thumbnail image of Overland Park Arboretum & Botanical Gardens.
Police say about 20 people, some with GPS units, metal detectors and shovels, showed up at the gardens and started digging. But the joke was on them -- Manley's family told police he had given the gold away.
'I am broken-hearted but I do not begrudge what he did," Flick, his sister, wrote on the memorial site. "He always had a difficult time conforming to this world. He was truly like a square peg in a round hole."
'Thrilled to death'
Hours before his death, Manley scheduled a final post to his blog, Sports in Review, to publish and sent e-mails and overnight letters via FedEx to Flick, Weller and others telling them what he'd done. With him was a detailed message for police, apologizing for subjecting them to the suicide and explaining that his family and friends would be contacting them in a few hours. He'd left them the number to the police station.
So, did Manley, as he predicted, spend his final moments "thrilled" that he'd been able to leave this world having created a digital legacy for himself? Calhoun wonders.
"In the immediate time period preceding the final act, people tend, perhaps somewhat irrationally, to see escaping from the pain and distress as only possible by ending their lives," he said. "It is not uncommon, however, for people who attempt and 'fail' to be grateful that they did not succeed, perhaps in part because they have come to see alternatives to the only path they could see at the time."
Manley would have argued, according to friends -- would have argued passionately.