The news was announced in a statement from his investment fund, Vulcan Inc. Allen, who also owned the NFL team the Seattle Seahawks and the NBA team the Portland Trail Blazers, was one of the wealthiest people in the world, with an estimated net worth of $26.1 billion, according to Bloomberg's Billionaire's Index. That ranked him as the 27th-richest individual in the world.
Allen co-founded software giant Microsoft along with Bill Gates in 1975. The pair originally created Microsoft as an implementation of the BASIC programming language, and eventually grew the company into one of the most valuable corporations in the world. Allen left the board of Microsoft in 2000, and went on to pursue a variety of other philanthropic and business ventures spanning technology, scientific research, real estate, the arts and sports.
Allen purchased the NBA's Trail Blazers in 1998 and the Seahawks in 1996, and was also part owner of a Major League Soccer franchise, the Seattle FC. He is credited with helping usher the Seahawks to three Super Bowl appearances. Through Vulcan Inc., Allen was also involved in a diverse range of activities including real estate development, wildlife conservation and aerospace engineering. In 2003, he launched the Allen Institute for Brian Science and donated hundreds of millions to the organization.
Vulcan CEO Bill Hilf wrote in a statement on the fund's website that Allen's life "reflected his myriad interests in technology, music and the arts, biosciences and artificial intelligence, conservation and in the power of shared experience -- in a stadium or a neighborhood -- to transform individual lives and whole communities." Vulcan's real estate division is noted as one of the most influential real estate developers in the Seattle area.
In a statement released on Twitter, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella called Allen's contributions to the company and the industry "indispensable."
Former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer also tweeted about what Allen meant to him.