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Who is Elon Musk? What to know about the Tesla CEO who is set to buy Twitter

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Big changes may be coming to Twitter as billionaire Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk  is set to acquire the social media giant in a $44 billion deal that would cap a bid that began in early April to exert official influence over policies designed to combat abuse on the platform, which Musk has cast as anti-free speech.

Now, on the verge of taking over the company, Musk is promising to bring “free speech” to Twitter. Musk said he would let former president Donald Trump return to the platform after he was banned last year. But the deal still needs to be finalized. Musk said that the deal was "temporarily on hold" over concerns about the number of spam accounts on the platform.

As the tech world's attention fixed onto Musk's negotiations with Twitter, Insider reported that SpaceX had reached a settlement over a sexual misconduct claim against Musk by a flight attendant. Musk denied the report.

But who exactly is Musk? Here is what to know the richest man on Earth.

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Who is Elon Musk?

Musk is a South-Africa-born billionaire entrepreneur who serves as CEO of Tesla, the 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 space 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.

How old is Elon Musk?

Musk was born on June 28, 1971. He is 50 years old.

Where is Elon Musk from originally?

Musk 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 at time of publishing.

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 PhD program at Stanford University.

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 promises “free speech” on Twitter, where they say they have been censored.

Some Democrats are 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 years old in 2012 when he became a billionaire, Insider reported. 

What phone does Elon Musk use?

Several recent tweets indicate that Musk uses the app on an iPhone.

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 Twitter takeover gets board recommendation

Twitter’s board of directors voted to recommend to shareholders to approve Musk’s $44 billion acquisition of the company, the Associated Press reported.

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Who is Elon Musk? What to know about the billionaire Tesla CEO