Paul Allen, Visionary and Philanthropist, Dies of Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma at Age 65

Microsoft cofounder’s impact on Seattle will be a lasting one — on many fronts.

Paul Allen has died. The Microsoft cofounder was the architect of so much of Seattle’s modern identity — from popular culture to sophisticated science to neighborhood revitalization — that it’s hard to say which of his contributions will have the most lasting impact.

Allen died today of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, two weeks after saying the disease, for which he had been treated in 2009, had returned. He was 65 years old.

In a statement, his sister, Jody Allen, said, “My brother was a remarkable individual on every level. While most knew Paul Allen as a technologist and philanthropist, for us he was a much-loved brother and uncle, and an exceptional friend. Paul’s family and friends were blessed to experience his wit, warmth, his generosity and deep concern. For all the demands on his schedule, there was always time for family and friends. At this time of loss and grief for us — and so many others — we are profoundly grateful for the care and concern he demonstrated every day.”

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said in a statement, “Paul Allen’s contributions to our company, our industry and to our community are indispensable. As cofounder of Microsoft, in his own quiet and persistent way, he created magical products, experiences and institutions, and in doing so, he changed the world.”

While Allen’s vision was indeed global — nay, universal — his love for his hometown was unmistakable and palpable. He kept the Seattle Seahawks in Seattle (and delivered a Super Bowl championship to the city). He transformed the South Lake Union neighborhood (and nurtured the Amazon juggernaut). He built the Experience Music Project (and changed its name a few times before settling on the Museum of Popular Culture). He created the Allen Institute (and advanced the study of brain science, cell science and bioscience).

In 2014, Seattle Business magazine gave Allen a lifetime achievement award as part of its Community Impact Awards program, writing: “It’s hard to imagine this city — or this region — without the labor and the largess of Paul Allen. Thanks to his vision, his dedication and his spirit, Washington is culturally, socially and economically a richer and more diverse state.”

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan called Allen “a true son of Seattle who made his beloved city – and our world – a better, more vibrant place. For generations to come, Seattleites and people across our planet will benefit from his vision, innovation, and generosity. He quite literally helped invent the future.”

Click here for a timeline of Allen’s achievements and Vulcan Inc.’s official news release on Allen’s death.