Apple CEO Tim Cook has said he is "proud to be gay".
Cook came out publicly for the first time in a deeply personal blog written for Bloomberg Businessweek.
Probably the world's most powerful CEO had until now kept his personal life a secret, but in the blog Cook explains that the secrecy had become a barrier to "doing something more important".
"I don’t consider myself an activist, but I realize how much I’ve benefited from the sacrifice of others. So if hearing that the CEO of Apple is gay can help someone struggling to come to terms with who he or she is, or bring comfort to anyone who feels alone, or inspire people to insist on their equality, then it’s worth the trade-off with my own privacy."
"I’ve come to realize that my desire for personal privacy has been holding me back from doing something more important. That’s what has led me to today."
Cook said that while being gay is "among the greatest gifts God has given me", it has also given him "the skin of a rhinoceros, which comes in handy when you’re the CEO of Apple".
Cook also talked about his experiences at Apple and the support that he's had from staff and the people around him.
"For years, I’ve been open with many people about my sexual orientation. Plenty of colleagues at Apple know I’m gay, and it doesn’t seem to make a difference in the way they treat me. Of course, I’ve had the good fortune to work at a company that loves creativity and innovation and knows it can only flourish when you embrace people’s differences. Not everyone is so lucky."
Cook, who took over from the late Steve Jobs in 2011, has long been a supporter of gay rights and recently lambasted his home state of Alabama for its reluctance to move forward with pro-LGBT legislation.
Cook also participated in San Francisco's annual Pride parade in 2014, and last year wrote an editorial in the Wall Street Journal calling for nondiscrimination legislation to be passed in the US congress.