Paul Allen, Microsoft Co-Founder and Seattle Seahawks Owner, Dies at the Age of 65

Paul Allen — who co-founded Microsoft with Bill Gates in 1975 — has died on Monday at the age of 65 due to complications from cancer, his family announced in a statement.

Allen— who, according to Forbes, was the 44th richest person in the world with a net worth of $20.3 billion —  died just weeks after announcing he had been diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a cancer that kills nearly 20,000 people a year.

Allen has faced cancer a number of times during his life, first, he had Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 1982, which lead him to step down from his role at Microsoft the following year, and the second in 2009, when he was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma for the first time.

The cancer ultimately went into remission with the help of treatment, and it was something Allen had hoped would happen again as he faced it this third time.

“My team of doctors has begun treatment of the disease and I plan on fighting this aggressively,” Allen said in a statement, according to the Seattle Times. “A lot has happened in medicine since I overcame this disease in 2009. My doctors are optimistic that I will see good results from the latest therapies, as am I.”

Allen’s sister, Jody, announced her brother’s death through a statement on Monday.

“My brother was a remarkable individual on every level. While most knew Paul Allen as a technologist and philanthropist, for us he was a much-loved brother and uncle, and an exceptional friend,” she said in the statement posted to the website of Vulcan, Allen’s investment company.

She continued: “Paul’s family and friends were blessed to experience his wit, warmth, his generosity and deep concern. For all the demands on his schedule, there was always time for family and friends. At this time of loss and grief for us – and so many others – we are profoundly grateful for the care and concern he demonstrated every day.” 

Non-Hodgkin lymphoma is a cancer that starts out in the white blood cells, and affects the body’s lymph system, according to the American Cancer Society. A key difference between Hodgkin and non-Hodgkin lymphoma is whether a specific type of abnormal cell, called a Reed-Sternberg cell, is present (if it is, it is considered Hodgkin’s).

After retiring from Microsoft and surviving his initial cancer diagnosis, Allen became highly involved in philanthropy and the founding of other technology companies. He recently invested $30 million to a housing project that would benefit low-income and homeless families in the Seattle area.

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He also made his mark in the sports world when he took majority stakes in two franchises — the Portland Trailblazers of the NBA and the NFL’s Seattle Seahawks.

Under Allen, the Seahawks experienced the most successful era in their history by reaching three Super Bowls. They won their first and only NFL championship in 2014 over the Denver Broncos.

Pete Carroll, the head coach of the Seahawks, tweeted his condolences just minutes after the news of Allen’s death was announced.

“Deeply saddened by the passing of @PaulGAllen. I’ll miss him greatly,” he wrote. “His gracious leadership and tremendous inspiration will never be forgotten. The world is a better place because of Paul’s passion, commitment, and selflessness. His legacy will live on forever.”

The Trailblazers posted a short but powerful message in remembrance of their owner.

“We miss you. We thank you. We love you,” the team wrote on Twitter.

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Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella also paid tribute to Allen with a statement on the company’s Twitter account.

“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, who took over as CEO in 2013, wrote.

“I have learned so much from him — his inquisitiveness, curiosity, and push for high standards is something that will continue to inspire me and all of us as Microsoft. Our hearts are with Paul’s family and loved ones. Rest in peace.”

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