Paul Allen, Microsoft co-founder(Photo: Miles Harris / Wikimedia / CC BY-SA 3.0)

Microsoft co-founder and venture capitalist billionaire Paul Allen died on October 15 after suffering complications due to a type of cancer called non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, his company Vulcan Inc. said on Monday. He was 65.

The disease which affects the lymphatic system thus hindering the transport of white blood cells to and from lymphatic bones, had recurred two weeks ago after almost nine years since Mr. Allen had been treated for it.

A visionary who had been instrumental in the early success of Microsoft, a company he co-formed with Bill Gates in 1975, Mr. Allen had ventured into media, music and sports all with a flash of technology and philanthropy. His company Vulcan Inc. was responsible for managing the various businesses that he owned, including two professional sports teams in the US (basketball’s Portland Trail Blazers and the Seattle Seahawks which plays in the NFL).

In the early years of Microsoft, Mr. Allen is credited with having predicted the impact of personal computers to envisioning future portable models as well as seeing a ‘wired world’ where people could manage households and finances from the comfort of their computers, a nod to the internet age.

Vulcan Inc. had been formed years after Mr. Allen left Microsoft in 1982, due to his being diagnosed with the cancer that would eventually lead to his death. He remained on the board of Microsoft and officially stepped down in 2000. The billionaire’s other ventures, though not always as succesful, would nonetheless retain him among the richest people in the world.

As at the time of his death, Mr. Allen ranked as the 13th wealthiest person in technology in the world, the 21st in America and the 44th globally in 2018, according to Forbes.

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Mr. Gates, the second richest man in the world and who currently holds the title of co-founder and technology adviser of Microsoft said he was heartbroken by the passing of one of his oldest and dearest friends. “Personal computing would not have existed without him.”

“He deserved much more time, but his contributions to the world of technology will live on for generations to come. I will miss him dearly,” said Mr. Gates.

The Microsoft co-founders had met in 1968 at a computer room at the Lakeside School in Seattle. Mr. Allen was two years older than Mr. Gates, but that did not stop the two from discovering that they had a shared passion.

After forming Microsoft in 1975, it would take another five years before the company realised its big break. Information technology multinational IBM requested Microsoft to provide the software for the tech giant’s foray into personal computing. Mr. Allen managed to negotiate a deal for the purchase of a software that Microsoft would rename ‘DOS’ and Microsoft would never be the same since.

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