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Bill and Melinda Gates announce divorce after 27 years of marriage

Bill and Melinda Gates announce divorce after 27 years of marriage

Bill and Melinda Gates are ending their marriage after 27 years, announcing the news on their Twitter accounts.

"After a great deal of thought and a lot of work on our relationship, we have made the decision to end our marriage," the statement reads.

The couple founded their philanthropic organisation, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation together in 2000.

Since then, the foundation has spent $69.2 billion on a wide range of initiatives related to global health, poverty alleviation and more, according to its website.

"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," the statement says.

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

Bill Gates is one of the wealthiest people in the world with a net worth of $176 billion.

Bill and Melinda met in 1987 at Microsoft - which Bill Gates founded and was, at the time, running as CEO.

Melinda was part of the first group of MBA graduates to join the company and quickly climbed up the ladder to become general manager of information products.

She met Bill after she joined the company in 1987, at a business dinner in New York.

She described the encounter in her book, The Moment of Lift: "I showed up late, and all the tables were filled except one, which still had two empty chairs side by side. I sat in one of them. A few minutes later, Bill arrived and sat in the other."

The couple married in Hawaii in 1994.