Paul Allen, Microsoft co-founder and owner of the NFL’s Seattle Seahawks and NBA’s Portland Trail Blazers, died Monday at the age of 65.

He recently announced the non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma he received treatment for in 2009 had returned.

“My brother was a remarkable individual on every level,” Jody Allen, Allen’s sister, wrote in a statement. “While most knew Paul Allen as a technologist and philanthropist, for us he was a much-loved brother and uncle, and an exceptional friend.”

Allen co-founded Microsoft with his childhood friend Bill Gates in 1975. Microsoft’s first big break came five years later when IBM decided to get into the personal computer business. IBM asked Microsoft to provide the operating system, called Microsoft Disk Operating System or MD-DOS.

Microsoft later developed their immensely popular Windows operating system. Windows was designed to be used with a computer mouse and onscreen icons, a point-and-click form of computing that was easier than the typed commands of MD-DOS. Windows also produced the Office productivity programs.

Microsoft moved from New Mexico to Seattle in the early 1980s. Allen often played peacemaker and negotiator in contrast to the volatile, no-nonsense businessman persona of Gates. He stepped away from the day-to-day operations at Microsoft in 1983, because of his deteriorating relationship with Gates and after learning he had Hodgkin’s lymphoma. However, he remained on the company’s board until 2000.

According to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, Allen had a net worth of $26.1 billion. He used his vast wealth to purchase the Trail Blazers in 1988. At the time, he told the Associated Press “for a true fan of the game, this is a dream come true.”

The Blazers made 23 postseason appearances with Allen as owner, including appearances in the 1990 and 1992 NBA Finals. Allen was known for being a hands-off owner who typically shunned the spotlight. This contributed to the stability of the organization.

“Paul Allen was the ultimate trail blazer—in business, philanthropy, and in sports,” NBA commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement. “As one of the longest tenured owners in the NBA, Paul brought a sense of discovery and vision to every league matter large and small. He was generous with his time on committee work, and his expertise helped lay the foundation for the league’s growth internationally and our embrace of new technologies.

“He was a valued voice who challenged assumptions and conventional wisdom and one we will deeply miss as we start a new season without him. Our condolences go to his family, friends, and the entire Trail Blazers organization.”

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Allen purchased the Seahawks in 1997 with a commitment to keep the team from relocating. The Seahawks reached three Super Bowls (XL, XLVIII, XLIX), including a victory in Super Bowl XLVIII over the Denver Broncos. Allen’s death came on the eve of NFL owners’ meetings scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday in New York. He rarely attended NFL owners’ meetings but his presence was felt.

“Paul Allen was the driving force behind keeping the NFL in the Pacific Northwest,” commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement. “His vision led to the construction of CenturyLink Field and the building of a team that played in three Super Bowls, winning the championship in Super Bowl XLVIII.

“The raising of the 12th Man flag at every Seahawks home game was Paul’s tribute to the extraordinary fan base in the Seattle community. His passion for the game, combined with his quiet determination, led to a model organization on and off the field. He worked tirelessly alongside our medical advisers to identify new ways to make the game safer and protect our players from unnecessary risk.

I personally valued Paul’s advice on subjects ranging from collective bargaining to bringing technology to our game. Our league is better for Paul Allen having been a part of it and the entire NFL sends its deepest condolences to Paul’s family and to the Seahawks organization.”

Allen was also a co-owner of MLS’ Seattle Sounders FC. In addition to his interest in professional sports, he gave more than $2 billion to a myriad of interests and causes including ocean health, homelessness, technology, music, the arts, and advancing scientific research.

There are “no changes imminent” for the teams owned by Allen according to Vulcan Inc.(who managed Allen’s fortune) CEO Bill Hilf.

“Paul thoughtfully addressed how the many institutions he founded and supported would continue after he was no longer able to lead them,” Hilf said. “This isn’t the time to deal in those specifics as we focus on Paul’s family. We will continue to work on furthering Paul’s mission and the projects he entrusted to us. There are no changes imminent for Vulcan the teams, the research institutions or museums.”

– Curtis Rawls is a Managing Editor for Full Press Coverage and covers the NFL, the New York Giants, and the NBA. Please like and follow on Facebook, Twitter, and Twitter. Curtis can be followed on Twitter @CuRawls203.


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