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Gates dethroned as world's richest man

After 13 years, Gates loses his top spot on the Forbes list to close friend Warren Buffett, who is in the process of donating the lion's share of his fortune to Gates' foundation.

You knew this was going to happen eventually--Bill Gates prepares to step away from full-time work at Microsoft and suddenly he is on the slippery slope to the poor house.

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Well, maybe not the poor house, but he has lost his position as the world's richest man, a title he'd held since 1995. The new world's richest man is Gates' friend and investment mogul Warren Buffett, according to Forbes magazine's annual ranking of the world's wealthiest people, which was released Wednesday. The magazine estimated Buffett's worth at $62 billion, and Gates' fortune not too far behind at $58 billion. But that doesn't mean he only slipped one notch: Carlos Slim, a Mexican telecoms tycoon, came in second with an estimated worth of $60 billion.

Buffett, who runs a holding company whose stock price closed up Wednesday at $139,000 per share, announced in 2006 that he would give away the lion's share of his fortune to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. At that time his personal fortune was valued at $44 billion. In the past year, Microsoft's stock price has seen fluctuations but is pretty much in the same place it was 12 months ago, while Berkshire Hathaway's stock price has increased more than 25 percent.

Gates plans to step away from full-time work at the software giant in July to focus on his charitable foundation.

There were rumblings last year that Gates' hold on the top spot might be slipping when various media reports estimated Slim's net worth at $67 billion.