The former wife of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, MacKenzie Scott, has become the world's richest woman after Amazon shares surged amid the Covid-19 worldwide lockdowns.
Scott added another US$30.3 billion ($44.8b) to her bank balance in the past year, taking her net worth to a staggering US$67.4b ($99.7b), according to Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
Scott owns a 4 per cent stake in Amazon after last July's divorce settlement with Bezos.
But most of Scott's wealth is likely to be given away to good causes.
Shortly after finalising her divorce, the mum-of-four signed up to the Giving Pledge campaign – an initiative founded by billionaires Warren Buffett and Bill Gates, which encourages the world's wealthiest people to dedicate most of their fortunes to worthy causes.
Amazon stocks have skyrocketed since the global pandemic stuck, as stay-at-home orders and shuttered businesses sent consumers flocking to the retail giant for online orders and home deliveries.
Shares have risen from nearly US$2000 to US$3500 since the start of 2020.
Since pandemic lockdowns started in March, the combined US billionaire wealth has grown by nearly US$800 billion, or more than 25 per cent, according to an analysis by Americans for Tax Fairness, an advocacy group.
Meanwhile, millions of Americans find themselves on the breadline and bracing for job losses.
The Federal Reserve estimated that US net household worth fell by a record 5.6 per cent in the first three months of the year, the biggest single-quarter decline since the 1950s.
The boost to novelist Scott's financial position makes her the wealthiest woman in the world and the 12th richest person in the world.
As part of The Giving Pledge, Scott has given US$1.7b to nonprofit organisations.
The divorce settlement granted Scott around 19.7 million Amazon.com shares. According to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, Bezos continues to hold his position as the wealthiest person in the world, with an estimated worth of US$205 billion.
Bill Gates is second with US$126 billion, followed by Mark Zuckerberg at US$112 billion and Elon Musk at US$110 billion.
Tesla CEO Musk briefly overtook Zuckerberg on Monday when his net worth ballooned to US$115.4 billion when Tesla's stock split sent shares surging as much as 12 per cent, the Daily Mail reported.
Shares in Tesla have surged by around 500 per cent this year, as investors bet on Musk dominating the electric car market, and Musk's personal wealth has tripled since the pandemic started ravaging the US back in March.
The controversial CEO will get another US$50 billion if he meets certain performance goals.