New York (USA) | Jagran News Desk: Billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates and his wife Melinda on Monday filed for divorce, ending their 27-year-old marriage. However, the two have pledged to continue their philanthropic work together.

"After a great deal of thought and a lot of work on our relationship, we have made the decision to end our marriage. Over the last 27 years we have raised three incredible children and built a foundation that works all over the world to enable all people to lead healthy, productive lives," they said in a joint statement.

"We continue to share a belief in that mission and will continue our work together at the foundations, but we no longer believe we can grow together as a couple in this next phase of our lives," it added.

Bill Gates, 65, who co-founded Microsoft Corp and his spouse, Melinda French Gates, 56, met after she joined the software giant as a product manager, and they dated for a few years before marrying in January 1994 in Hawaii.

The divorce petition, which states that the couple have no minor children, comes after the youngest of their three offspring recently turned 18.

Meanwhile, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has become one of the most powerful and influential forces in global public health, spending more than $50 billion over the past two decades to bring a business approach to combating poverty and disease.

The Gates have backed widely praised programs in malaria and polio eradication, child nutrition and vaccines. The foundation last year committed some $1.75 billion to COVID-19 relief.

Launched in 2000, the nonprofit Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation ranks as the largest private philanthropic foundation in the United States and one of the world's biggest, with net assets of USD 43.3 billion at the end of 2019, according to the latest full-year financials shown on its website.

From 1994 through 2018, the couple gifted more than USD 36 billion to the Seattle-based foundation, the website said.

Last year, investor Warren Buffett reported donating more than USD 2 billion of stock from his Berkshire Hathaway Inc to the Gates Foundation as part of previously announced plans to give away his entire fortune before his death.

(With inputs from Reuters)

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma