Bill and Melinda Gates have announced a decision to divorce, unnerving the philanthropic world.
"After a great deal of thought and a lot of work on our relationship, we have made the decision to end our marriage," the two said in a statement posted on the Twitter account of Bill Gates, who co-founded Microsoft Corp.
"We no longer believe we can grow together as a couple in the next phase of our lives. We ask for space and privacy for our family as we begin to navigate this new life," their statement said.
The financial details of the decision were not immediately clear.
The two were co-chairs and trustees of their non-profit Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which launched in 2000. The foundation currently has more than $51 billion in assets, according to a tax filing cited by CNBC.
The development comes two years after Amazon.com Inc founder Jeff Bezos said that he and his then wife, MacKenzie, were getting divorced.
Gates dropped out of Harvard to co-found Microsoft with school-friend Paul Allen in 1975.
He owned 49 percent of Microsoft at its initial public offering in 1986, which made him an instant multi-millionaire. With Microsoft's explosive growth, he soon became the world's richest person.
Gates, who made the company one of the world's most valuable technology firms, stepped down from the board in March 2020 to focus on philanthropy.