Microsoft Corp co-founder Bill Gates (L) and his wife Melinda Gates
Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and his wife Melinda Gates.Reuters

Bill Gates has given away $4.6bn (£3.6bn) to charity, and what is the Microsoft co-founder's largest donation since 2000.

Despite the donation, which stems from a reduction in his stake in Microsoft by 64 million shares, Gates remains the world's richest person.

The share divestment is equivalent to 5% of his total fortune, currently estimated to be $90bn by Forbes magazine.

For over two decades, Gates and his wife Melinda have given away a total of $35bn in cash and stocks to a range of charitable causes from disease prevention to poverty alleviation, mostly via the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation.

In 2010, the Gates couple, and billionaire investor and philanthropist Warren Buffett created the Giving Pledge, which has signed up 158 high net worth individuals or couples who have agreed to contribute at least half of their wealth to charity.

The latest Gates donation, made in June, came to light on Monday (14 August) following a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission, of the sale of Microsoft shares.

As a consequence, Bill Gates' share in Microsoft currently stands at just around 1.3% of the company he co-founded with Paul Allen.