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Who is Elon Musk? What to know about the world's wealthiest man, new Twitter owner

After changing his bio to "Chief Twit" and appearing at Twitter's San Francisco headquarters, Elon Musk has officially closed his $44 billion purchase of the company.

The deal gives Musk one of the world's most powerful megaphones and access to the data of nearly 400 million users. In the first 24 hours of Musk's Twitter, users reported changes to the site, including lifted shadow bans and reverses to users previously limited on the site.

But who exactly is Musk?

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Who is Elon Musk? 

Musk is a South Africa-born billionaire entrepreneur who serves as CEO of Tesla, a popular electric vehicle manufacturer, and SpaceX. Musk made an early fortune founding PayPal in 1999. EBay bought the company in 2002 for $1.5 billion, and Musk made $180 million from the deal, Time Magazine reported.

Soon after, Musk founded SpaceX, which partners with NASA on missions. Musk’s admirers herald him as a visionary thrusting the world into the future. His ultimate goal with SpaceX is to make humanity a “multi-planet” species by colonizing Mars, and another of his projects seeks to integrate a computer into the human brain.

But outside of his ambitious projects, Musk is almost as known for his polarizing online persona. He is popular on Twitter, where he chimes in on politics, talks business openly and embraces the internet’s meme culture. Some of his tweets have landed him in legal trouble.

When did Elon Musk buy Twitter?

Multiple news outlets reported Musk closed the deal late Thursday, firing top executives, including the company's CEO Parag Agrawal.

But on Wednesday, Musk tweeted a video of him carrying a porcelain sink into Twitter's headquarters.

Musk tweeted a message directed toward Twitter advertisers Thursday morning. "The reason I acquired Twitter is because it is important to the future of civilization to have a common digital town square, where a wide range of beliefs can be debated in a healthy manner, without resorting to violence," Musk wrote.

How old is Elon Musk? 

Musk was born on June 28, 1971.

Where is Elon Musk from originally? 

He grew up in Pretoria, one of South Africa’s three capital cities. His mother is a Canadian-born South African model who was a finalist in the 1969 Miss South Africa competition. His father, Errol Musk, is an engineer. His parents separated in 1980.

Is Elon Musk the richest man in the world? 

In 2021, Musk surpassed Amazon founder Jeff Bezos to become the richest man in the world.

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What is Elon Musk’s net worth? 

Forbes lists his net worth at $267.1 billion.

Is Elon Musk married? 

Musk was married to Canadian author Justine Wilson from 2000 to 2008. He was also married to English actress Talulah Riley from 2010 to 2016. Musk has six children with Wilson and two children with his ex-girlfriend, singer Grimes. 

What companies does Elon Musk own? 

Musk has founded or co-founded several major companies. The list includes Tesla, SpaceX, OpenAI, Neuralink, the Boring Company and Starlink.

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Where did Elon Musk go to college? 

Musk graduated in 1995 from the University of Pennsylvania with bachelor’s degrees in physics and business. He dropped out of a physics Ph.D program at Stanford.

Where did Elon Musk get all his money? 

Musk said he started his first venture, Zip2, a software company, in 1995 with $15,000 and a later round of $200,000 from investors, including his father. Zip2 sold for $300 million in 1999. 

Is Elon Musk a Democrat or Republican? 

Musk said in a 2018 tweet that he is registered as an independent voter and described his political views as “moderate.” Though he recently indicated he would support Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis for president in 2024, Musk has donated to both political parties over the years.

Still, opinions on Musk tend to be divided along party lines. Conservatives rallied behind Musk last year as he moved Tesla’s headquarters from California, a blue state, to Texas, a red state, and are supporting him now as he promised “free speech” on Twitter, where they say they have been censored.

Some Democrats were worried about the potential increased spread of misinformation on the platform under Musk’s control and the prospect of former President Donald Trump’s return to Twitter after he was permanently banned last year.

How old was Elon Musk when he became a billionaire? 

Musk was 41 in 2012 when he became a billionaire, Insider reported. 

Who owned Twitter before Elon Musk? 

Twitter, Inc. was co-founded by Jack Dorsey in 2007. It undertook an initial public offering in 2013 and was a publicly traded company until Musk’s acquisition. 

An iPhone is marked as the source of Musk's tweets.
An iPhone is marked as the source of Musk's tweets.

Elon Musk’s child seeks name change to reflect gender identity

Musk’s 18-year-old daughter petitioned in court to change her name to match her gender identity, USA TODAY reported. The teen also cited wanting to sever ties with her father as a reason for requesting the change.

Elon Musk had twins with Neuralink executive last year

Business Insider reported that Musk welcomed twins with Shivon Zilis, an executive at Musk’s Neuralink, in November. 

Elon Musk quotes

Here is a compiled list of Elon Musk quotes:

  • "It's OK to have your eggs in one basket as long as you control what happens to that basket."

  • "Some people don't like change, but you need to embrace change if the alternative is disaster."

  • "One word: Doge."

  • "I love the thought of a car drifting apparently endlessly through space and perhaps being discovered by an alien race millions of years in the future."

  • "I think it is possible for ordinary people to choose to be extraordinary."

  • "There are some important differences between me and Tony Stark, like I have five kids, so I spend more time going to Disneyland than parties."

  • "The key test for an acronym is to ask whether it helps or hurts communication."

  • "I would like to die on Mars. Just not on impact."

  • "Patience is a virtue, and I'm learning patience. It's a tough lesson."

  • "I think that's the single best piece of advice: Constantly think about how you could be doing things better and questioning yourself."

  • "When something is important enough, you do it even if the odds are not in your favor."

  • "People should pursue what they're passionate about. That will make them happier than pretty much anything else."

  • "When Henry Ford made cheap, reliable cars people said, 'Nah, what's wrong with a horse?' That was a huge bet he made, and it worked."

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Who is Elon Musk? The billionaire Tesla CEO who just bought Twitter