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Warren Buffett Loses "World's Richest Billionaire" Title

Warren Buffett has lost the title of "World's Richest Billionaire" along with $25 billion dollars in the wake of the global financial crisis.

The 2009 rankings, just released by Forbes magazine, put Microsoft founder, and Buffett bridge partner, Bill Gates in the top position with an estimated wealth of $40 billion. That's a drop of $18 billion from last year's $58 billion, when Gates was number three.

Buffett is number two, with $37 billion, a decline of $25 billion from last year's $62 billion, or just over 40 percent. Forbes notes that Berkshire Hathaway's stock is down 45 percent over the twelve months.

Mexico's Carlos Slim stays in the top three with $35 billion. He also lost $25 billion on paper compared to last year's list.

The total amount of wealth (on paper) erased for Gates, Buffett and Slim is a stunning $68 billion.

They're not alone. The prominent headline of the Forbes cover is "Billionaire Bust." Its coverage begins:

"The richest people in the world have gotten poorer, just like the rest of us. This year the world's billionaires have an average net worth of $3 billion, down 23 percent in 12 months. The world has 793, down from 1,125 a year ago."

Having Buffett at the top of the Forbes list last year was something of an anomaly. Gates had been number one for 13 straight years before his friend passed him.

Buffett joked with us last year that he had topped Gates because he "spends less." It hardly seems possible, unless he gives up his jet, but Buffett may have to become even thriftier to stay competitive.

Current Berkshire stock prices:

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Class B:

For more Buffett Watch updates follow alexcrippen on Twitter.

Questions? Comments? Email me at buffettwatch@cnbc.com

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