Microsoft founder Bill Gates and his wife Melinda Gates. AFP File Photo
WASHINGTON — Microsoft founder Bill Gates and his wife and fellow philanthropist Melinda announced on Monday they are divorcing after a 27-year marriage.
The announcement from one of the world's wealthiest couples, with an estimated net worth of some $130 billion, was made in a joint statement on Twitter.
"After a great deal of thought and a lot of work on our relationship, we have made the decision to end our marriage," they said.
The statement said they would continue their joint work on the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the massive charity which funds programs in global health, gender equality, education and other causes.
"We continue to share a belief in that mission and will continue our work together at the foundation, but we no longer believe we can grow together as a couple in this next phase of our lives."
The announcement comes two years after the divorce of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, another of the world's wealthiest people, and his wife MacKenzie.
Bill Gates, 65, was a geeky teenager when he started what would become the world's most valuable company, and was for a time the world's richest man and most prominent philanthropist.
He stepped down as Microsoft chief executive in 2008 to devote more time to philanthropy and later left the board, keeping only the title of "founder and technology advisor."
Melinda Gates, 56, married her husband in 1994 when she was working at the tech firm. They have three children together. — AFP