Bill Gates and his wife Melinda are due for divorce, he said.
In a post on the Microsoft founder’s Twitter account, the couple said they made the decision after “a lot of thought and a lot of work on our relationship.”
Gates, the fourth richest man in the world with a net worth of $ 130 billion (£ 93 billion), married Melinda in January 1994.
“Over the past 27 years, we have raised three amazing children and built a foundation that works around the world to enable everyone to lead healthy and productive lives,” they said.
“We continue to share our belief in this mission and we will continue our work together at the foundation, but we no longer believe that we can grow together as a couple in this next phase of our life.
“We ask for space and privacy for our family as we begin to navigate this new life.”
The couple, who married on a golf course on the Hawaiian island of Lanai 27 years ago, have three children together – Jennifer, Rory and Phoebe.
They live in a mansion sheltered from the earth on the side of a hill overlooking Lake Washington in Medina, Washington.
At 31 in 1987, Gates was already the youngest billionaire of all time, several years before he married.
He became the richest man in the world in 1995 at the age of 39 with a fortune of £ 12.9 billion (£ 9.2 billion) – his company Microsoft bringing Internet Explorer to the world later that year.
In 2000, the couple founded the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation – a merger of the William H Gates Foundation and the Gates Learning Foundation – which would be the largest private foundation in the world.
The foundation currently has assets of more than $ 51 billion (£ 36.6 billion), according to a tax filing cited by CNBC, and aims to improve healthcare and reduce extreme poverty through the world, as well as to expand educational opportunities and access to information technology in the United States.
The announcement of Gates’ divorce comes two years after Amazon founder Jeff Bezos said he and his then-wife MacKenzie Scott were divorcing, leaving her the third richest woman in the world in 2019.
The former couple, who have four children, had been married for 25 years and Ms Scott helped Bezos start Amazon in 1994.
Mrs. Scott has since married a science teacher from her children’s school.
His fortune is estimated at around $ 53 billion (£ 38.3 billion), according to Forbes.
Although Gates’ fortune continues to grow, he lost his place as the richest man on the planet in 2008 for the first time in 13 years when he was overtaken by his friend Warren Buffet and the Mexican telecommunications giant. Carlos Slim Helu.
He now sits in fourth place, according to Forbes, with Bezos occupying the top spot with a fortune of $ 197 billion (£ 141 billion).