Paul G. Allen
Paul G. Allen

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.

About the author

Andrew Villeneuve is the founder and executive director of the Northwest Progressive Institute, as well as the founder of NPI's sibling, the Northwest Progressive Foundation. He has worked to advance progressive causes for over two decades as a strategist, speaker, author, and organizer. Andrew is also a cybersecurity expert, a veteran facilitator, a delegate to the Washington State Democratic Central Committee, and a member of the Climate Reality Leadership Corps.

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