Female Prodigy Who Astonished Bill Gates Passes Away at 14

Karim RandhawaArifa Karim Randhawa when she visited Microsoft. Photo by Efe.

Female Prodigy Who Astonished Bill Gates Dies at 14
El País: Fallece una niña prodigio paquistaní que asombró a Bill Gates
Efe Staff Report from Islamabad, January 15, 2012

A Pakistani female prodigy who astonished Bill Gates with her premature computing abilities passed away last night after passing more than three weeks in a coma, according to local television stations Geo and Express.

Arifa Karim Randhawa, who leaped to fame at age 9 when she became the youngest person to obtain a professional certificate from Microsoft, died last night in a medical center in the eastern city of Lahore.

The minor, who according to hospital sources was 14 years old, suffered a heart attack December 22 after an epileptic attack. The doctors’ prognoses were very pessimistic after that, but her parents held out hope she would survive.

“We are weeping over her loss, but she was a very strong girl. She was a gift from God, and now she has returned to Him,” an uncle of the prodigious girl said to Express.

The computing expert will be buried today close to the city of Faisalabad in the eastern province of Punjab, her native land.

After Arifa received her professional diploma from Microsoft, an astonished Bill Gates invited her to visit company headquarters and take a photograph with him.

This minor from a humble family, who made her father buy her a computer when she was only 5 years old, was an inspiration for Pakistan, a country with serious political, economic, and security problems; her case inspired a wave of sympathy from her countrymen.

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