Bill Gates shares 'emotional' year-end note as he prepares to become a grandfather

Evan Agostini

Bill Gates is looking at the world through a new lens after receiving the "emotional" news that he is set to become a grandfather next year.

The 67-year-old Microsoft co-founder and billionaire philanthropist wrote in a year-end essay on his website about hearing “the incredible news” that his first grandchild is on the way in 2023.

In a post titled "The future our grandchildren deserve," Gates shared his excitement from being that his older daughter is expecting her first child.

"Simply typing that phrase, 'I’ll become a grandfather next year,' makes me emotional," he wrote. "And the thought gives a new dimension to my work. When I think about the world my grandchild will be born into, I’m more inspired than ever to help everyone’s children and grandchildren have a chance to survive and thrive."

He also described his shifting view of aging.

"When I was in my twenties, I didn’t think that anyone my grandparents’ age had anything useful to offer the world at large," he wrote. "As I get older, though, I see how wrong I was."

Gates wrote that helping children in poor countries is the "top global priority" of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which makes the impending birth of his own grandchild even more of a driving force.

He also referenced the dissolution of his marriage to his wife of 27 years, Melinda, whom he divorced in August 2021. The couple first announced their divorce in a joint statement three months earlier, saying they no longer “believe we can grow together as a couple in this next phase of our lives."

The pair have three children together — Jennifer, 26, Rory, 23, and Phoebe, 20, — and continue to work closely on their philanthropic foundation. Gates referred to their divorce when talking about the hardships much of the world has endured recently between the pandemic, economic woes and the war in Ukraine.

"Because of my position, I’m insulated from many of these hardships," Gates wrote. "But I too have hit some personal low points over the past few years, including the death of my father and the end of my marriage.

"As I reflect on the past and look ahead to next year, I’m feeling grateful for the people in my life who support me in difficult moments," he continued. "They remind me of what’s important, and they inspire me to be a better father and friend. Being wealthy makes my life much more comfortable, but not more fulfilling. For that, I need family, friends, and a job where I work on things that matter. I’m grateful to have all three."

He noted how the foundation is working to help prevent the next pandemic, eradicate polio, promote math in schools, provide ultrasounds for mothers without access to them, push for a cure for AIDS and combat climate change.

Gates also reflected on his growing family.

"One of the joys of getting older is to see my three children welcome wonderful new people into our family," he wrote. "Last year I gained a son-in-law, and next year I’ll become a grandfather. I hope I can be as good with my grandchildren as my dad was with his.

"I also hope that, through my work, I can help make the better world that future generations deserve."

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