Bill and Melinda Gates [Courtesy]

Bill and Melinda Gates have announced the end of their marriage after 27 years in a touching statement posted on Twitter.

Their statement read: "After a great deal of thought and a lot of work on our relationship we have made the decision to end our marriage.

"Over the last 27 years, we have raised three incredible children and built a foundation that works all over the world to enable all people to lead healthy, productive lives.

"We continue to share a belief in that mission and will continue our work together at the foundation, but we no longer believe we can grow together as a couple in the next phase of this lives.

"We ask for space and privacy for our family as we begin to navigate this new life."

The couple have three kids; Jennifer, 25, Rory, 21, and Phoebe, 18. Melinda, 56, is nine years younger than Bill.

Throughout the pandemic their foundation has focused on the development and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines around the world.

Shortly after their 25th wedding anniversary in 2019, Melinda told The Sunday Times that Bill struggled with balancing work with family.

She said: "We’ve just gotten to a point in life where Bill and I can both laugh about more things.

"And, believe me, I can remember some days that were so incredibly hard in our marriage where you thought, ‘Can I do this?"

Melinda said Bill was even hesitant to get married in the first place, adding: "When he was having trouble making the decision about getting married, he was incredibly clear that it was not about me, it was about "Can I get the balance right between work and family life?"

Last month Bill Gates urged the UK to reverse swingeing cuts to foreign aid as he warned of the "critical importance" in getting vaccines to the world's poorest.

The Microsoft founder added his voice to criticism over the Tory decision to tear up their manifesto commitment to spend 0.7% of gross national income on overseas aid, cutting it to 0.5%.

Some 200 UK charities signed a joint statement saying cuts to the foreign aid budget represented a "tragic blow" for many of the world's most at-risk communities.

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab came under fire for sneaking out a statement on the aid budget late on Wednesday evening.

Mr Gates said the UK had played a key role in supporting Gavi - the international vaccine alliance - but this would be undermined unless aid spending was fully restored.

Bill Gates [Courtesy]

"The quicker the UK can get its aid level back up to the 0.7% the better," he told Sky News's Sophy Ridge on Sunday.