SEATTLE — Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates' father, William H. Gates II, has died, his family announced Tuesday. He was 94.
According to The Associated Press, the elder Gates, known as Bill Gates Sr., died Monday from Alzheimer’s disease.
“My dad passed away peacefully at home yesterday, surrounded by his family,” the younger Gates wrote in a blog post Tuesday. “We will miss him more than we can express right now. We are feeling grief but also gratitude. My dad’s passing was not unexpected – he was 94 years old, and his health had been declining – so we have all had a long time to reflect on just how lucky we are to have had this amazing man in our lives for so many years. And we are not alone in these feelings. My dad’s wisdom, generosity, empathy and humility had a huge influence on people around the world.”
Gates Sr., who grew up in Washington state, was a lawyer who helped found the firm now known as K & L Gates, the AP reported. He also was known for his philanthropy and civic leadership, according to the younger Gates' blog post.
“The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation would not be what it is today without my dad,” the tech magnate wrote of his father’s involvement in the charitable organization founded by the younger Gates and his wife, Melinda. “More than anyone else, he shaped the values of the foundation. He was collaborative, judicious and serious about learning. He was dignified but hated anything that seemed pretentious. ... He was great at stepping back and seeing the big picture. He was quick to tear up when he saw people suffering in the world. And he would not let any of us forget the people behind the strategies we were discussing.”
Gates Sr. leaves behind his wife, Mimi Gardner; son, Bill; and daughters, Kristianne Black and Elizabeth MacPhee, The New York Times reported. His first wife and mother of the children, Mary Maxwell, died in 1994, according to the newspaper.
– The Associated Press contributed to this report.