Bill Gates Announces His Father's Death and Acknowledges 'Quiet Influence' on His Success

On Tuesday, philanthropist and Microsoft-founder Bill Gates published a blog post, announcing that his father Bill Gates, Sr. died on Monday. Gates wrote about how important his father was to him and the "quiet influence on almost everything [he had] done in life."

In the post, Gates announced that his father died in his home surrounded by family at age 94. Gates said that his father's death was not unexpected as he was battling Alzheimer's.While his family is sad to have lost him, they've also taken time "to reflect on just how lucky we are to have had this amazing man in our lives for so many years."

Gates wrote that his parents' support was a key factor in taking a risk (that ultimately paid off) in leaving school and starting Microsoft. "I knew [my parents] would be in my corner even if I failed," he wrote. Besides also supporting him, the Microsoft founder also said that the elder Gates often served as legal counsel for the company in its early years.

Besides offering his support, Gates said that his father was an impactful influence on what's made him most successful: his drive. He said that his Gates, Sr. "never let [him] coast along at things [he] was good at," and made him try new things. Gates said that his father's work as a lawyer was intensive. "[H]e modeled an amazing work ethic," he wrote.

Other than the importance in his personal life, Gates spoke about his father's influence on the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. "More than anyone else, he shaped the values of the foundation. He was collaborative, judicious, and serious about learning," he wrote.

Gates said that working on the foundation the two acted more as friends rather than a father-son pair. He wrote that, to his surprise, working with his father was fun, and it made the two closer.

The post concluded with Gates sharing an anecdote about his father telling him and his siblings not to overuse the word "incredible," and receiving a 50th birthday card from his father describing his experience raising his three children as "incredible."

"The experience of being the son of Bill Gates was incredible. People used to ask my dad if he was the real Bill Gates. The truth is, he was everything I try to be. I will miss him every day," he wrote.

Gates' wife and Gates Foundation co-chair Melinda Gates tweeted a thread about her father-in-law. "We will miss him, but we will forever catch glimpses of him in the people whose lives are changed by the work our foundation supports—and in the loving moments our family shares," she wrote.

And he was world-class at showing up: as a father and grandfather, as the heart of our foundation who rarely missed a day of work in 20 years (even though he was retired the whole time), and as a pillar of the Seattle community for almost three quarters of a century.

— Melinda Gates (@melindagates) September 15, 2020

We will miss him, but we will forever catch glimpses of him in the people whose lives are changed by the work our foundation supports—and in the loving moments our family shares.

— Melinda Gates (@melindagates) September 15, 2020

Gates also released a short video paying tribute to his father. "He'd set sort of a gold standard example of behavior and integrity that the character of how he'd done things, and if he could do something large and maintain his integrity, that would be quite something," Gates says in the video. "My dad was the best."

A media contact for The Gates Foundation did not respond to Newsweek's emailed request for comment in time for publication.

Bill Gates sr
Bill Gates and his father Bill Gates, Sr. attend Bill Gates: A Conversation with My Father at the 92nd Street Y on June 2, 2010 in New York City. Getty/Bobby Bank/WireImage