Paul Allen, Co-Founder of Microsoft, Dies at 65

Paul Allen_Bill Gates ONE TIME USE - Getty - H 2018
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He died Monday afternoon from complications of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in Seattle.

Paul Allen, the man who co-founded Microsoft with Bill Gates and owned the Seattle Seahawks and Portland Trail Blazers, has died. He was 65.

Allen's company, Vulcan Inc., confirmed the news on its website. Allen died Monday afternoon from complications of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in Seattle.

His sister, Jody Allen, released the following statement from his family: “My brother was a remarkable individual on every level. While most knew Paul Allen as a technologist and philanthropist, for us he was a much loved brother and uncle, and an exceptional friend."

She continued: "Paul’s family and friends were blessed to experience his wit, warmth, his generosity and deep concern. For all the demands on his schedule, there was always time for family and friends. At this time of loss and grief for us — and so many others — we are profoundly grateful for the care and concern he demonstrated every day.”

Gates remembered his former business partner in a statement: "I am heartbroken by the passing of one of my oldest and dearest friends, Paul Allen. From our early days together at Lakeside School, through our partnership in the creation of Microsoft, to some of our joint philanthropic projects over the years, Paul was a true partner and dear friend. Personal computing would not have existed without him.”

Gates went on to say, “Paul wasn’t content with starting one company. He channeled his intellect and compassion into a second act focused on improving people’s lives and strengthening communities in Seattle and around the world. He was fond of saying, ‘If it has the potential to do good, then we should do it.’ That’s the kind of person he was.

“Paul loved life and those around him, and we all cherished him in return. He deserved much more time, but his contribution to the world of technology and philanthropy will live on for generations to come. I will miss him tremendously,” Gates said.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella also released a statement that reads, "Paul Allen's contributions to our company, our industry and to our community are indispensable. As co-founder of Microsoft, in his own quiet and persistent way, he created magical products, experiences and institutions, and in doing so, he changed the world. I have learned so much from him — his inquisitiveness, curiosity and push for high standards is something that will continue to inspire me and all of us at Microsoft. Our hearts are with Paul's family and loved ones. Rest in peace." 

Allen revealed at the beginning of October that his cancer, which he first overcame in 2009, had returned.

Born in Seattle, Allen attended high school with Gates and the two bonded over their interest in computers. The two later went on to start Microsoft together in the late 1970s, though Allen later wrote in his memoir, Idea Man, that he effectively left the company in 1982 after he was diagnosed with lymphoma. He stepped down from the board of directors in 2000. 

As a Microsoft shareholder, Allen accumulated significant wealth. His net worth was said to be more than $20 billion, per Forbes, as of Oct. 15. He used that fortune to invest in real estate and technology through Vulcan and also became owner of the NFL's Seattle Seahawks and the NBA's Portland Trail Blazers and part-owner of the MLS' Seattle Sounders. Through Vulcan Productions, he also helped to produce feature films and documentaries, including Girl Rising and Far From Heaven.   

In 1994, Allen provided $500 million in backing for Jeffrey Katzenberg, Steven Spielberg and David Geffen's Dreamworks SKG film studio.

Katzenberg, Spielberg and Geffen remembered Allen in a joint statement, saying, "Paul was a remarkable pioneer, a generous philanthropist and a special partner for us. SKG wouldn’t have been possible for us without him. Our hearts and prayers are with him and his family.”

Allen, who in 2010 promised to give at least half of his fortune to philanthropic causes, donated more than $2 billion to educational, environmental and artistic causes. He was the founder of the Allen Institute for Brain Science, a nonprofit that is dedicated to understanding how the brain works, and the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence. In 2014, he pledged $100 million to build the Allen Institute for Cell Science.  

Allen, who never married or had children, is survived by his sister Jody.