Microsoft founder Bill Gates and his wife and philanthropist colleague Melinda announced their divorce on Monday after a 27-year marriage.
One of the richest couples in the world – with a joint fortune estimated at $ 130 billion – the Gates have funneled billions into charities around the world through their hugely influential foundation.
Announcing their separation on Twitter, the couple said they would continue their joint work on the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which funds programs in the areas of global health, gender equality, education and other causes.
“After a lot of thought and a lot of work on our relationship, we made the decision to end our marriage,” they said in a joint statement, posted on each of their official accounts.
“Over the past 27 years, we have raised three amazing children and built a foundation that works around the world to enable everyone to lead healthy and productive lives,” they wrote.
“We continue to share our conviction in this mission and we will continue our work together at the foundation, but we no longer believe that we can grow together as a couple in this next phase of our life.
The statement did not provide any further details about the split, but said: “We ask for space and privacy for our family as we begin to navigate this new life. “
The announcement comes two years after Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, another of the world’s richest people, and his wife MacKenzie divorced.
– Met at Microsoft –
Bill Gates, 65, was a teenage geek when he created what would become the world’s most valuable company, and was for a time the richest man in the world and the most prominent philanthropist.
He resigned his role as CEO of Microsoft in 2008 to devote more time to philanthropy and then left the board, retaining only the title of “Founder and Technology Advisor.”
Melinda Gates, 56, met Bill at Microsoft in 1987, shortly after joining the tech company, and the couple married in 1994.
Their foundation is among the richest in the world, having provided more than $ 54 billion in grants over two decades in areas such as malaria and infectious disease control, agricultural research, basic health care and l sanitation, in various parts of the world. It has an endowment of over $ 46 billion.
In recent years, Bill Gates has distanced himself widely from Microsoft and the tech industry, instead speaking about poverty and health initiatives, and the coronavirus pandemic.
Last year, the foundation pledged some $ 250 million to help fight the pandemic, with part of the funds going towards the distribution of life-saving doses of Covid-19 vaccines in parts of sub-Saharan Africa and Africa. ‘South Asia.
Gates, who had warned as early as 2015 of the potential dangers of a global pandemic, has become the target of conspiracy theorists who claim to know Covid-19 in advance.
The split comes in the wake of the high-profile divorce from Bezos, whose ex-wife took the name MacKenzie Scott and quickly began donating billions to various causes without setting up a conventional foundation.
© 2021 AFP