Offering daily news and analysis from the majestic Evergreen State and beyond, The Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Paul Allen: 1953-2018

Tech pioneer and philanthropist Paul G. Allen, who amassed one of the largest fortunes in the world after co-founding Microsoft with Bill Gates, has died due to complications of cancer, his family has announced.

“It is with deep sadness that we announce the death of our founder Paul G. Allen, co-founder of Microsoft and noted technologist, philanthropist, community builder, conservationist, musician and supporter of the arts,” the family said through Allen’s firm Vulcan, Inc. “Mr. Allen died on Monday afternoon, October 15, 2018, from complications of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in Seattle. Mr. Allen was 65 years old.”

“Paul loved Seattle and the Pacific Northwest,” said Vulcan CEO Bill Hilf.

“The impact of Paul’s efforts can be seen here at every turn. But the true impact of his vision and generosity is evident around the globe.”

“Paul thoughtfully addressed how the many institutions he founded and supported would continue after he was no longer able to lead them. This isn’t the time to deal in those specifics as we focus on Paul’s family. We will continue to work on furthering Paul’s mission and the projects he entrusted to us. There are no changes imminent for Vulcan, the teams, the research institutes or museums.”

His sister Jody emphasized that Paul deeply cared for his family despite having many business, charitable, and political projects on his plate.

“Paul’s family and friends were blessed to experience his wit, warmth, his generosity and deep concern. For all the demands on his schedule, there was always time for family and friends. At this time of loss and grief for us – and so many others – we are profoundly grateful for the care and concern he demonstrated every day.”

“Paul Allen stands as a giant in Washington history for the genius vision that was so important to creating Microsoft with Bill Gates. That he went on to do so much more for our state, nation and the world puts him in rarefied company.

“Paul was a major philanthropist who believed in giving at home,” said Governor Jay Inslee in a statement. “Seattle is dotted with the results of his philanthropy and investments, from the unbelievable work of the Allen Institute for Brain Science to the preservation of the world-class Cinerama movie theater.”

“He brought us a Super Bowl championship, a reverence for Jimi Hendrix and a vision for Seattle that today is home to some of the world’s most innovative biotech research and has been the cradle of the city’s economic boom. ”

“He cared about the larger world, too, stepping up to fight ebola and working to preserve endangered animals. He exposed the dark depths of oceans and pioneered privately funded space flight. There’s little in the universe that didn’t interest Paul.”

“Paul Allen’s contributions to our company, our industry and to our community are indispensable,” said Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella.

“As co-founder of Microsoft, in his own quiet and persistent way, he created magical products, experiences and institutions, and in doing so, he changed the world. I have learned so much from him – his inquisitiveness, curiosity and push for high standards is something that will continue to inspire me and all of us at Microsoft. Our hearts are with Paul’s family and loved ones. Rest in peace.”

The Museum of Pop Culture (MoPOP), the Flying Heritage Collection, the STARTUP Gallery in Albuquerque, and the Allen Institute for Brain Science all owe their existence to Paul’s passion for science, history, and culture.

The Allen legacy we appreciate the most could well be the Living Computers Museum + Labs, which is one of the Northwest’s coolest institutions. Located in the SoDo neighborhood, it has an accessible collection of computers from decades past running old operating systems like Windows 95 and Windows 98.

“Living Computers: Museum + Labs also fulfills my hope that the achievements of early computer engineers aren’t lost to time,” Allen says in a welcome letter on Living Computers’ website. “I wanted to provide a website and repository that recognized the efforts of those creative engineers who made some of the early breakthroughs in interactive computing that changed the world.”

Allen was also the owner of the Seattle Seahawks and the Portland Trail Blazers. He kept the National Football League in Seattle during the 1990s on the condition that the Seahawks get a new publicly financed stadium (CenturyLink Field) to play in. They did, and today it is home to the Seattle Sounders as well as the Seahawks.

Allen supported both Democrats and Republicans in his political giving. He recently donated $100,000 to keep Republicans in control of the U.S. House. He also donated $1 million to pass Initiative 1639, which the right wing fiercely opposes.

There are few people who have had the kind of influence on the Pacific Northwest that Paul Allen has had. We extend our condolences to his family and friends.