Paul Allen, who founded Microsoft with Bill Gates in the 1970s and later went on to become an investor, philanthropist and sports team owner, died on Monday after his latest battle with cancer at age 65, his family has announced.
“My brother was a remarkable individual on every level. While most knew PaulAllen as a technologist and philanthropist, for us he was a much-loved brother and uncle, and an exceptional friend,” Allen’s sister Jody said in a statement announcing his death.
One of the world’s wealthiest billionaires, Allen was known as the owner of the NFL’s Seattle Seahawks and the NBA’s Portland Trail Blazers, and part owner of the Major League Soccer team the Seattle Sounders, along with a variety of business and charitable ventures, AFP writes.
He also founded Stratolaunch Systems, which built the world’s largest plane designed as a colossal rocket-launching aircraft touted as the future of space travel.
Allen died just two weeks after publicly revealing that non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma he fought into remission nine years ago had returned.
He never married and had no children.
Allen was a high school classmate of Gates in Seattle, and later, while working as a computer programmer, persuaded his friend to drop out of Harvard to create Microsoft, which became the world’s most valuable company in the 1990s.
A “heartbroken” Gates remembered Allen as “one of my oldest and dearest friends.”
“Personal computing would not have existed without him,” Gates added.
“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.”
Microsoft said Allen’s “contributions to our company, our industry and to our community are indispensable.”
Actor and environmentalist Leonardo DiCaprio hailed Allen as a “strong advocate for environmental protection.”
“His legacy lives on via his incredible work as a philanthropist and investor,” he added.
Amazon, Blue Origin and The Washington Post owner Jeff Bezos said Allen’s “passion for invention and pushing forward inspired so many. He was relentless to the end.”