Bill Gates Sr, a lawyer and father of Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, died on Monday at his beach home on Hood Canal, in the Seattle area. He was 94.
The cause was Alzheimer's disease, his family said in an announcement on Tuesday. William Henry Gates II was born November 30, 1925, in Bremerton, Washington.
In a heartfelt tribute to his father, Bill said: "I never stopped learning from his wisdom, kindness, and humility. Melinda and I owe him a special debt because his commitment to serving the community and the world helped inspire our own philanthropy."
"As I’ve said many times before, my dad was the real Bill Gates. He was all the things I strive to be."
According to the New York Times, Gates Sr played a crucial role in establishing the world's largest philanthropy, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
"My dad's influence on our philanthropy was just as big. Throughout my childhood, he and my mom taught me by example what generosity looked like in how they used their time and resources," Bill Gates said in a statement.
In 1994, Gates Sr was 69 and planning to retire from his prestigious law practice in a few years when, one autumn evening, he and his son, Bill, and his daughter-in-law, Melinda, went to a movie. Standing in the ticket line, Bill told his father that he was being inundated with appeals for charity but that he was far too busy running Microsoft to answer them.
"The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation would not be what it is today without my dad. 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," Bill Gates said in a statement.
In addition to his son, Bill, he is survived by his wife; his daughters, Kristianne Blake, who is known as Kristi, and Elizabeth MacPhee, who is known as Libby; and eight grandchildren.
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