The father of Bill Gates, billionaire philanthropist and Microsoft co-founder, is dead.
William Henry Gates II died on Monday aged 94.
The cause of his death was Alzheimer’s disease, his family said on Tuesday, the New York Times reported.
Gates senior was an Army veteran and a founding partner in a Seattle law firm, according his official biography.
“We will miss him more than we can express right now We are feeling grief but also gratitude”, said the Microsoft billionaire, 64, while announcing the passing of his father in a post published on his blog Tuesday. “His wisdom, generosity, empathy, and humility had a huge influence on people around the world”.
In the tribute, Bill reflected on his father’s influence on his life, sharing that he and his sisters were “very lucky” to have parents who “gave us constant encouragement and were always patient with us.”
He said his father was critical in starting the charitable organisation he co-founded with his wife, Melinda, that has been Bill’s central focus since he stepped away from running Microsoft.
“The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation would not be what it is today without my dad,” Bill said, according to CNN.
Bill’s father served as co-chair of the foundation since the organisation started in 2000.
“My dad’s passing was not unexpected. He was 94 years-old and his health had been declining, so we have all had a long time to reflect on just how lucky we are to have had this amazing man in our lives for so many years,” Bill said in the statement.
In 1951, the late nonagenarian married Mary Maxwell Gates and they remained married until her death in 1994. They had three children: Kristianne, Bill, and Libby.
In 1996, Gates married his second wife Mimi Gardner Gates, who was the director of the Seattle Art Museum.
He was a lifelong supporter of the Washington Huskies college football team.
In 2018, it was revealed that he suffered from Alzheimer’s disease.
Gates died at his home.