Microsoft founder Bill Gates and wife Melinda split after 27 years

BREAKING Bill Gates announces end of marriage after 27 years

Co-founder of Microsoft, Bill Gates, on Monday revealed that he and his wife, Melinda Gates, have chosen to end their marriage after 27 years. We continue to share a belief in that mission and will continue to work together at the foundation, but we no longer believe we can grow together as a couple in this next phase of our lives.

Bill and Melinda, in the statement, urged everyone to give them space and privacy for their family as they begin to navigate "this new life".

The couple's philanthropy has always been deeply rooted in their relationship and marriage - the day before they Wednesday in Hawaii, Bill's mother, Mary, who had been trying to convince him to dramatically increase his charity, gave Melinda a letter which closed with the words "From those to whom much is given, much is expected".

They have three children and jointly run the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The couple have three children: Jennifer, Phoebe and Rory Gates.

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The couple married in Hawaii in 1994. Melinda Gates, 56, is a former Microsoft manager who's become an outspoken advocate on global health and equality for women in her role co-running the foundation. It has focused on global health and development and US education issues since incorporating in 2000.

Bill, rated by Forbes as the fourth wealthiest person in the world with a net worth of $124 billion, made his money through Microsoft - the world's biggest software firm - which was founded in the 1970s.

Mr Gates was Microsoft's chief executive officer (CEO) until 2000 and since then has gradually scaled back his involvement in the company he started with Paul Allen in 1975.

The Gateses will be the second high-profile Seattle-area billionaire couple to end their marriage in recent years. The divorce, which was finalized in June, left MacKenzie with a four percent stake in Amazon-or around $38 billion, making her the third richest woman in the world.

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