Bill Gates has penned an heartfelt tribute to his late father, William Henry Gates II, following his death on Monday September 14. Although the American philanthropist did not disclose the cause of his passing, he did share that he had been facing a decline in his health.
According to him, the passing of his father was not unexpected, as he was 94 years old and until his last breath he was surrounded by family, with the beautiful moments they shared.
Taking to his official blog Gates Notes, he began, “So we have all had a long time to reflect on just how lucky we are to have had this amazing man in our lives for so many years. And we are not alone in these feelings. My dad’s wisdom, generosity, empathy, and humility had a huge influence on people around the world.”
He also shared that the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation would not be where it is today without his dad who shaped the values of the foundation. “People who came through the doors of the Gates Foundation felt honored to work with my dad. He saw the best in everyone and made everyone feel special,” Gates stated about working with him.
He added, “We worked together at the foundation not so much as father and son but as friends and colleagues. He and I had always wanted to do something concrete together. When we started doing so in a big way at the foundation, we had no idea how much fun we would have. We only grew closer during more than two decades of working together.
The Microsoft Founder says he learnt everything from his father, from “respecting women and honoring individuality”, to “guiding children’s choices with love and respect.”
He further revealed one of his most prized possessions to be a letter his dad wrote to him on his 50th birthday, encouraging him to stay curious and reminding him how much he loved being a father to Bill and his sisters Kristi and Libby.
“Over time,” he wrote, “I have cautioned you and others about the overuse of the adjective ‘incredible’ to apply to facts that were short of meeting its high standard. This is a word with huge meaning to be used only in extraordinary settings. What I want to say, here, is simply that the experience of being your father has been… incredible.”
“I know he would not want me to overuse the word, but there is no danger of doing that now. 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.”
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My father’s death is a tremendous loss for our family and the many people whose lives he touched. Dad lived a long and enormously meaningful life. 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. Although he would be the last person to say it, my father’s compassion and generosity will live on in the foundation he helped build. As I’ve said many times before, my dad was the real Bill Gates. He was all the things I strive to be.
Bill Gates’ wife Melinda also penned a sad note acknowledging her father-in-law’s death on Twitter. She has since been joined by several others who took time to celebrate the late nonagenarian’s legacy.
I am heartbroken about the passing of Bill Gates Sr. It is difficult to overstate what he meant to me, to our family, and to our foundation. Bill Sr. liked to say, in characteristic modesty, that the secret to his success was simply “showing up.”
— Melinda Gates (@melindagates) September 15, 2020
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