Paul G. Allen, who co-founded Microsoft with his childhood friend Bill Gates before becoming a billionaire philanthropist who invested in conservation, space travel and professional sports, died Monday. He was 65.
His death was announced by his company, Vulcan Inc.
Earlier this month Allen announced that the non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma that he was treated for in 2009 had returned and he planned to fight it aggressively.
“While most knew Paul Allen as a technologist and philanthropist, for us he was a much-loved brother and uncle, and an exceptional friend,” said his sister, Jody Allen, in a statement.
Allen, who was an avid sports fan, owned the Portland Trail Blazers and the Seattle Seahawks.
Allen and Gates met while attending a private school in north Seattle. The two friends would later drop out of college to pursue the future they envisioned: A world with a computer in every home.
Gates so strongly believed it that he left Harvard University in his junior year to devote himself full-time to his and Allen’s startup, originally called Micro-Soft. Allen spent two years at Washington State University before dropping out as well.
After Gates and Allen found some success selling their programming language, MS-Basic, the Seattle natives moved their business in 1979 to Bellevue, Washington, not far from its eventual home in Redmond.
Microsoft’s big break came in 1980, when IBM Corp. decided to move into personal computers and asked Microsoft to provide the operating system.
Allen later joined the list of America’s wealthiest people who pledged to give away the bulk of their fortunes to charity. In 2010, he publicly pledged to give away the majority of his fortune, saying he believed “those fortunate to achieve great wealth should put it to work for the good of humanity.”