Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, one of the wealthiest men in the world, said on Thursday that he planned to leave most of his fortune to philanthropic causes after his death.

Mr. Allen, who founded the U.S. software giant with Bill Gates in 1975 and was diagnosed last year with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, a type of cancer, made the announcement in a statement released by his Paul G. Allen Family Foundation.

Mr. Allen did not mention Mr. Gates in his statement but his announcement came a month after Mr. Gates and billionaire investor Warren Buffett called on wealthy Americans to give at least half of their assets to charity.

Mr. Allen (57), who has never married, was ranked number 37 on the latest list of the world's richest people by Forbes magazine with a personal fortune estimated at $13.5 billion.

In his statement, Mr. Allen unveiled $3.9 million in grant awards to non-profits, most of whose activities are focused in the northwestern United States.

“I also want to announce that my philanthropic efforts will continue after my lifetime,” said Mr. Allen.

According to the foundation, Mr. Allen's contributions have resulted in more than 3,000 grants totalling more than $400 million. — AFP

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