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Paul Allen, Microsoft co-founder, sports evangelist, philanthropist dead at 65

News Analysis
Oct 15, 20183 mins
Enterprise ApplicationsMicrosoft

Myriad industries from technology to space and sports mourn passing of multifaceted icon Paul Allen

Microsoft co-founder, philanthropist,  space enthusiast, owner of the NBA’s Portland Trail Blazers and the NFL’s Seattle Seahawks, Paul Allen, has died. He was 65.

Allen’s family issued a statement today through by Vulcan Inc., Allen’s privately held company,  on behalf of the Allen Family, Vulcan and the Paul G. Allen network.

“It is with deep sadness that we announce the death of our founder Paul G. Allen, co-founder of Microsoft and noted technologist, philanthropist, community builder, conservationist, musician and supporter of the arts. Mr. Allen died on Monday afternoon, October 15, 2018, from complications of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in Seattle.”

Allen and Bill Gates founded Microsoft in 1975 and the rest was computing history. Allen left Microsoft in 1982, when his cancer first developed and battled it again in 2009.  It has been in remission until a few months ago when he stated that it had returned. 

The AP wrote that Bill 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.

Speaking on behalf of Vulcan, the Seattle Seahawks and Portland Trailblazers, Stratolaunch Systems, the Allen Institute and the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence, Vulcan CEO Bill Hilf wrote: “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.  Paul’s life was diverse and lived with gusto. It reflected his myriad interests in technology, music and the arts, biosciences and artificial intelligence, conservation and in the power of shared experience – in a stadium or a neighborhood – to transform individual lives and whole communities.”

Aside from computing and sports he was part of the first private effort to successfully put a civilian in suborbital space.  SpaceShipOne was launched in 2004 and won the Asari X Prize.  Then in 2011 he was behind the launch of Stratolaunch Systems a space transportation venture. 

He also gave some $2 billion in supporting ocean health, battling homelessness and advancing scientific research. Allen ranked among the world’s wealthiest individuals ranked at 44th on Forbes’ 2018 list of billionaires with an estimated net worth of more than $20 billion.

The Los Angeles Times noted that not all his investments went well. Allen reportedly lost billions of dollars when Charter Communications went through a bankruptcy proceeding in 2009. Allen had seen the company as a future leader in providing high-capacity internet bandwidth.

Despite his wealth, he retained the aura of the computer geek he had always been. He was a preternaturally reserved man who dressed modestly, appeared uneasy in public and closely guarded his privacy, the Times article stated.