William H. Gates II, a lawyer, and philanthropist best known as the father of Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, has died at 94. Gates died peacefully at his beach home in Washington state from Alzheimer’s disease. William Gates was an Army veteran and a founding partner in a Seattle law firm, where his son said he offered key legal advice during Microsft’s early years and also “played a similar role” for former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz.
My dad was the “real” Bill Gates. He was everything I try to be and I will miss him every day.https://t.co/OnAEsmosNb
— Bill Gates (@BillGates) September 15, 2020
In an obituary, the family credited the patriarch with a “deep commitment to social and economic equity,” noting that he was responsible for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s first efforts to improve global health as well as his advocacy for progressive taxation, especially unsuccessful efforts to pass a state income tax on the wealthy in Washington. The younger Gates said his father had a “profoundly positive influence” on his life and it was an “incredible” experience being his son.