Microsoft co-founder, philanthropist Paul Allen dies at 65

October 16, 2018 by Phuong Le
Microsoft co-founder, philanthropist Paul Allen dies at 65
In this Dec. 31, 2017 photo, Seattle Seahawks owner Paul Allen stands near the field before an NFL football game against the Arizona Cardinals in Seattle. Allen, who co-founded Microsoft with his childhood friend Bill Gates before becoming a billionaire philanthropist who invested in conservation, space travel, arts and culture and professional sports, died Monday, Oct. 15, 2018. He was 65. (AP Photo/John Froschauer)

Paul G. Allen, who co-founded Microsoft with his childhood friend Bill Gates before becoming a billionaire philanthropist who invested in conservation, space travel, arts and culture and professional sports, died Monday. He was 65.

He died in Seattle from complications of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, his company Vulcan Inc. announced.

Gates said he was heartbroken about the loss of one of his "oldest and dearest friends."

"Personal computing would not have existed without him," Gates said in a statement.

"But 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,'" Gates wrote.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella called Allen's contributions to the company, community and industry "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," Nadella wrote on Twitter.

Allen, an avid sports fan, owned the Portland Trail Blazers and Seattle Seahawks.

Over the course of several decades, Allen gave more than $2 billion to a wide range of interests, including ocean health, homelessness and advancing scientific research.

Microsoft co-founder, philanthropist Paul Allen dies at 65
In this July 17, 2001 file photo, Seattle Seahawks owner Paul Allen appears in a suite in the team's stadium in Seattle. Allen, billionaire owner of the Trail Blazers and the Seattle Seahawks and Microsoft co-founder, died Monday, Oct. 15, 2018 at age 65. Earlier this month Allen said the cancer he was treated for in 2009, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, had returned. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)
"Millions of people were touched by his generosity, his persistence in pursuit of a better world, and his drive to accomplish as much as he could with the time and resources at his disposal," Vulcan CEO Bill Hilf said in a statement.

Allen was on the list of America's wealthiest people who pledged to give away the bulk of their fortunes to charity. "Those fortunate to achieve great wealth should put it to work for the good of humanity," he said.

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.

They founded the company in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and their first product was a computer language for the Altair hobby-kit , giving hobbyists a basic way to program and operate the machine.

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 co-founder, philanthropist Paul Allen dies at 65
In this March 11, 2003 file photo, Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates, left, chats with Portland Trail Blazers owner and former business partner Paul Allen during a game between the Trail Blazers and Seattle SuperSonics in Seattle. Allen, billionaire owner of the Trail Blazers and the Seattle Seahawks and Microsoft co-founder, died Monday, Oct. 15, 2018 at age 65. Earlier this month Allen said the cancer he was treated for in 2009, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, had returned. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)

Microsoft's big break came in 1980, when IBM Corp. decided to move into personal computers and asked Microsoft to provide the operating system.

Gates and Allen didn't invent the operating system. To meet IBM's needs, they spent $50,000 to buy one known as QDOS from another programmer, Tim Paterson. Eventually the product refined by Microsoft—and renamed DOS, for Disk Operating System—became the core of IBM PCs and their clones, catapulting Microsoft into its dominant position in the PC industry.

The first versions of two classic Microsoft products, Microsoft Word and the Windows operating system, were released in 1983. By 1991, Microsoft's operating systems were used by 93 percent of the world's personal computers.

The Windows operating system is now used on most of the world's desktop computers, and Word is the cornerstone of the company's prevalent Office products.

Gates and Allen became billionaires when Microsoft was thrust onto the throne of technology.

With his sister Jody Allen in 1986, Paul Allen founded Vulcan, the investment firm that oversees his business and philanthropic efforts. He founded the Allen Institute for Brain Science and the aerospace firm Stratolaunch, which has built a colossal airplane designed to launch satellites into orbit. He has also backed research into nuclear-fusion power.

Microsoft co-founder, philanthropist Paul Allen dies at 65
In this April 30, 1997, file photo, Portland Trail Blazers owner Paul Allen, middle, is joined by Blazers President Bob Whitsitt, left, Microsoft chairman and founder Bill Gates, right and fans as they celebrate the Blazers 98-90 win over the Los Angeles Lakers in game three of first-round NBA playoff action in Portland, Ore. Allen, billionaire owner of the Portland Trail Blazers and the Seattle Seahawks and Microsoft co-founder, died Monday, Oct. 15, 2018 at age 65. Earlier this month Allen said the cancer he was treated for in 2009, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, had returned. (AP Photo/Jack Smith, File)

Allen also funded maverick aerospace designer Burt Rutan's SpaceShipOne, which in 2004 became the first privately developed manned spacecraft to reach space.

The SpaceShipOne technology was licensed by Sir Richard Branson for Virgin Galactic, which is testing a successor design to carry tourists on brief hops into lower regions of space.

Branson tweeted Monday: "So sad to hear about the passing of Paul Allen. Among many other things he was a pioneer of commercial . We shared a belief that by exploring space in new ways we can improve life on Earth."

When Allen released his 2011 memoir, "Idea Man," he allowed 60 Minutes inside his home on Lake Washington, across the water from Seattle, revealing collections that included the guitar Jimi Hendrix played at Woodstock to vintage war planes and a 300-foot yacht with its own submarine.

Allen served as Microsoft's executive vice president of research and new product development until 1983, when he resigned after being diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma.

"To be 30 years old and have that kind of shock—to face your mortality—really makes you feel like you should do some of the things that you haven't done yet," Allen said in a 2000 book, "Inside Out: Microsoft in Our Own Words."

Microsoft co-founder, philanthropist Paul Allen dies at 65
In this Sept. 17, 2017 photo, Seattle Seahawks owner Paul Allen waves as he is honored for his 20 years of team ownership before an NFL football game against the San Francisco 49ers in Seattle. Allen, who co-founded Microsoft with his childhood friend Bill Gates before becoming a billionaire philanthropist who invested in conservation, space travel, arts and culture and professional sports, died Monday. He was 65. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

Two weeks ago, Allen announced that the non-Hodgkin's lymphoma that he was treated for in 2009 had returned and he planned to fight it aggressively.

"My brother was a remarkable individual on every level," his sister Jody Allen said in a statement. "Paul's family and friends were blessed to experience his wit, warmth, his generosity and deep concern," she added.

Allen never married or had children.

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 center at the University of Washington that bears his name.

In 1988 at 35, he bought the Portland Trail Blazers professional basketball team. He told The Associated Press that "for a true fan of the game, this is a dream come true."

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.

Microsoft co-founder, philanthropist Paul Allen dies at 65
In this Oct. 12, 2015 file photo, Portland Trail Blazers owner Paul Allen looks on before the start of the first quarter of an NBA preseason basketball game against the Utah Jazz in Salt Lake City. Allen, billionaire owner of the Trail Blazers and the Seattle Seahawks and Microsoft co-founder, died Monday, Oct. 15, 2018 at age 65. Earlier this month Allen said the cancer he was treated for in 2009, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, had returned. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)
Microsoft co-founder, philanthropist Paul Allen dies at 65
In this Jan. 10, 2016 file photo, Portland Trail Blazers owner Paul Allen, left, and general manager Neil Olshey appear during the second half of an NBA basketball game in Portland, Ore. Allen, billionaire owner of the Trail Blazers and the Seattle Seahawks and Microsoft co-founder, died Monday, Oct. 15, 2018 at age 65. Earlier this month Allen said the cancer he was treated for in 2009, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, had returned. (AP Photo/Craig Mitchelldyer, File)
Microsoft co-founder, philanthropist Paul Allen dies at 65
In this Sept. 17, 2017 photo, Seattle Seahawks owner Paul Allen waves as he is honored for his 20 years of team ownership before an NFL football game against the San Francisco 49ers in Seattle. Allen, who co-founded Microsoft with his childhood friend Bill Gates before becoming a billionaire philanthropist who invested in conservation, space travel, arts and culture and professional sports, died Monday. He was 65. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Microsoft co-founder, philanthropist Paul Allen dies at 65
In this Sept. 17, 2017 photo, Seattle Seahawks owner Paul Allen waves as he is honored for his 20 years of team ownership before an NFL football game against the San Francisco 49ers in Seattle. Allen, who co-founded Microsoft with his childhood friend Bill Gates before becoming a billionaire philanthropist who invested in conservation, space travel, arts and culture and professional sports, died Monday. He was 65. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Microsoft co-founder, philanthropist Paul Allen dies at 65
Students walk out of the Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering at the University of Washington, Monday, Oct. 15, 2018, in Seattle. Allen, who co-founded Microsoft with his childhood friend Bill Gates, has died. He was 65. Allen's company Vulcan Inc. said in a statement that he died Monday. Earlier this month Allen said the cancer he was treated for in 2009, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, had returned. Allen, who was an avid sports fan, owned the Portland Trail Blazers and the Seattle Seahawks. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Microsoft co-founder, philanthropist Paul Allen dies at 65
A portrait of Paul Allen stands on a wall at the Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering at the University of Washington, Monday, Oct. 15, 2018, in Seattle. Allen, who co-founded Microsoft with his childhood friend Bill Gates, has died. He was 65. Allen's company Vulcan Inc. said in a statement that he died Monday. Earlier this month Allen said the cancer he was treated for in 2009, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, had returned. Allen, who was an avid sports fan, owned the Portland Trail Blazers and the Seattle Seahawks. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
In this Feb. 10, 2004, file photo, Portland Trail Blazers owner Paul Allen smiles as he talks to the media at the Rose Garden arena during halftime of the Blazers game against the Utah Jazz in Portland, Ore. Allen, billionaire owner of the Portland Trail Blazers and the Seattle Seahawks and Microsoft co-founder, died Monday, Oct. 15, 2018 at age 65. Earlier this month Allen said the cancer he was treated for in 2009, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, had returned. (AP Photo/Don Ryan, file)
Microsoft co-founder, philanthropist Paul Allen dies at 65
-In this June 18, 1997, file p photo, Microsoft co-founder and billionaire Paul Allen joins in with the band and plays electric guitar at an election night victory party in the early morning hours in Seattle. Allen, billionaire owner of the Portland Trail Blazers and the Seattle Seahawks and Microsoft co-founder, died Monday, Oct. 15, 2018 at age 65. Earlier this month Allen said the cancer he was treated for in 2009, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, had returned (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, file)
Microsoft co-founder, philanthropist Paul Allen dies at 65
In this May 8, 2008 file photo, Vulcan Inc. Founder and Chairman Paul Allen attends Time's 100 Most Influential People in the World Gala in New York. Allen, billionaire owner of the Trail Blazers and the Seattle Seahawks and Microsoft co-founder, died Monday, Oct. 15, 2018 at age 65. Earlier this month Allen said the cancer he was treated for in 2009, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, had returned. (AP Photo/Evan Agostini, File)
In this Feb. 2, 2014 file photo, Seattle Seahawks owner Paul Allen holds the the Vince Lombardi Trophy after the NFL Super Bowl XLVIII football game against the Denver Broncos in East Rutherford, N.J. The Seahawks won 43-8. Allen, billionaire owner of the Trail Blazers and the Seattle Seahawks and Microsoft co-founder, died Monday, Oct. 15, 2018 at age 65. Earlier this month Allen said the cancer he was treated for in 2009, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, had returned. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File)
Microsoft co-founder, philanthropist Paul Allen dies at 65
-In this Feb. 5, 2014, file photo, Seattle Seahawks owner Paul Allen lifts the Vince Lombardi trophy during a celebration at CenturyLink Field in Seattle. Allen, billionaire owner of the Portland Trail Blazers and the Seattle Seahawks and Microsoft co-founder, died Monday, Oct. 15, 2018 at age 65. Earlier this month Allen said the cancer he was treated for in 2009, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, had returned. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, file)
Microsoft co-founder, philanthropist Paul Allen dies at 65
In this Feb. 2, 2014 file photo, Seattle Seahawks owner Paul Allen celebrates after the NFL Super Bowl XLVIII football game against the Denver Broncos in East Rutherford, N.J. The Seahawks won 43-8. Allen, billionaire owner of the Trail Blazers and the Seattle Seahawks and Microsoft co-founder, died Monday, Oct. 15, 2018 at age 65. Earlier this month Allen said the cancer he was treated for in 2009, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, had returned. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey, File)
Microsoft co-founder, philanthropist Paul Allen dies at 65
In this Jan. 10, 2016 file photo, Portland Trail Blazers owner Paul Allen, left, and general manager Neil Olshey appear during the second half of an NBA basketball game in Portland, Ore. Allen, billionaire owner of the Trail Blazers and the Seattle Seahawks and Microsoft co-founder, died Monday, Oct. 15, 2018 at age 65. Earlier this month Allen said the cancer he was treated for in 2009, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, had returned. (AP Photo/Craig Mitchelldyer, File)

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