Split for Microsoft founder
Bill and Melinda Gates announce plan to divorce
Bill Gates during a visit to Edinburgh
Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, 65, and his wife Melinda are divorcing after 27 years of marriage but have pledged to continue working together on their charitable foundation.
Mr Gates is the fourth richest man in the world with a net worth of $130bn.
The couple, who married in Hawaii in January 1994, announced their separation on Twitter.
“After a great deal of thought and a lot of work, we have made the decision to end our marriage,” they said.
“Over the last 27 years, we have raised three incredible children and built a foundation that works all over the world to enable all people to lead healthy, productive lives.”
They intend to continue to work together at the foundation despite their separation.
The Gates Foundation has grown to become one of — if not the largest — charitable foundations in the world, with an endowment of almost $50 billion, dedicated to to bringing a business approach to combating poverty and disease.
The Gates have backed widely praised programmes in malaria and polio eradication, child nutrition and vaccines. The foundation last year committed about $1.75 billion to COVID-19 relief.
Investor Warren Buffett last year donated a reported $2 billion of stock from his Berkshire Hathaway Inc to the Gates Foundation as part of previously announced plans to give away his entire fortune before his death.
Mr Gates stepped away from his positions at Microsoft as CEO in 2000, as a full-time employee in 2008, and later as a member of the company’s board in order to better focus on philanthropy.
Mrs Gates, 56, had worked as a product marketing manager at Microsoft and oversaw a number of software launches before leaving in 1996.