Paul Allen, the billionaire Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) cofounder whose own empire spans tech, science, sports, and entertainment, has started chemotherapy for non-Hodgkin lymphoma. His sister Jody Allen informed the staff of his investment company Vulcan of the diagnosis and treatment in a memo today; she asked for privacy but the full memo was leaked and posted by Seattle news site TechFlash late Monday afternoon. Allen is the chairman of Charter Communications (NSDQ: CHTR), the cable operator he pieced together that is now in bankruptcy court as its massive debt is restructured. His other holdings include the Portland Trail Blazers and the Seattle Seahawks; Vulcan owns or invests in more than 50 companies, including tech start-ups Evri and Xiant. Allen, a musician, also founded Seattle’s interactive music exhibit Experience Music Project.
In 1983, Allen was diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma and beat it with treatment; this form,diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (pdf), is aggressive, fast-growing and represents about 30 percent of all new cases. Jody Allen did not say what stage it is, only that he was diagnosed earlier this month and has started chemo. She described him as “upbeat” and “optimistic.”