Microsoft Corporation co-founder Paul Allen died on Monday at the age of 65 in Seattle from complications arising due to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Allen was a billionaire philanthropist who invested in conservation, space travel, arts and culture and professional sports. He owned the Portland Trail Blazers and Seattle Seahawks.
Born in Washington’s Seattle on January 21, 1953, to Kenneth Sam Allen (Librarian) and Edna Faye Allen (Teacher), Paul did his schooling from Lakeside School where he met Bill Gates. Both Allen and Gates together developed their programming skills on several time-sharing computer systems. Allen was also part of the Phi Kappa Theta fraternity while studying at Washington State University. He, however, dropped out of University and worked as a programmer for Honeywell in Boston, near Harvard University where Bill was studying. Allen later persuaded Gates to drop out of Harvard to start Microsoft, originally called Micro-Soft, in 1975. They founded the company in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Microsoft went on to become the world’s biggest software company and made Gates and Allen billionaires.
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After a life-threatening bout with Hodgkin’s disease in 1983, Allen resigned from the post of Microsoft’s executive vice-president of research and new product development and shifted his priorities to follow his passions. In 1988, Allen purchased the Portland Trail Blazers and was intimately involved in the team’s operations until his death. He has donated more than $2 billion to various charities including $500 million to the Allen Institute for Brain Science and $52 million to Oregon charities. He said he believed “those fortunate to achieve great wealth should put it to work for the good of humanity.”
The Microsoft co-owner pledged to give the majority of his fortune to philanthropy after his death. Forbes values his fortune at $20.3 billion, making him the World’s 21st richest person.
With his sister Jody Allen in 1986, he founded Vulcan, the investment firm that oversees his business and philanthropic efforts.
When he released his 2011 memoir, “Idea Man,” he allowed 60 Minutes inside his home on Lake Washington, across the water from Seattle, revealing collections that ranged from the guitar Jimi Hendrix played at Woodstock to vintage warplanes and a 300-foot yacht with its own submarine.
His influence is firmly imprinted on the cultural landscape of Seattle and the Pacific Northwest, from the bright metallic Museum of Pop Culture designed by architect Frank Gehry to the computer science centre at the University of Washington that bears his name. He also was a part owner of the Seattle Sounders FC, a major league soccer team, and bought the Seattle Seahawks. Allen could sometimes be seen at games or chatting in the locker room with players.