Source: Microsoft

Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen has passed away, aged 65, after the return of his non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The announcement comes just weeks after a statement for Allen announcing the news and his optimistic statements about its treatment.

Though Allen didn’t get the limelight as much as the more business-oriented Bill Gates, he played a vital role in the early days of Microsoft, and computing advances in general. He was behind many of the company’s ideas and convinced Gates to drop out of school to form it.

The company’s big break came when Microsoft developed DOS for IBM in 1975, but Allen would leave the company less than 10-years later when his struggle with Hodgkin lymphoma began.

However, much like Gates, Allen channeled his wealth and time into other projects. He funded California’s Allen Telescope Array, saved the Seattle Seahawks from relocation, and formed space company Stratolaunch.

Tech Leader Response

Allen played a vital role in early computing and beyond, leading many tech leaders to voice their sadness at his passing. Not least was his long-time friend and co-founder Bill Gates.

“I am heartbroken by the passing of one of my oldest and dearest friends, Paul Allen. From our early days together at Lakeside School, through our partnership in the creation of Microsoft, to some of our joint philanthropic projects over the years, Paul was a true partner and dear friend. Personal computing would not have existed without him,” said Gates.

Current Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella also issued a statement, talking about the inspiration he took from Allen and how his “contributions to our company, our industry and to our community are indispensable”.

Setting aside current rivalries, Google CEO Sundar Pichai, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, Apple CEO Tim Cook, and Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak all spoke out. Allen is estimated to have donated over $2 billion in his life, fuelling efforts in wildlife conservation and science, and offering advice until the very end.