CNBC has estimated Tesla chief's wealth at $185 billion. Musk has gained more wealth over the past 12 months than Bill Gates' entire net worth of $132 billion.

Elon Musk started 2020 worth about $27 billion and was barely in the top 50 richest people.
Elon Musk started 2020 worth about $27 billion and was barely in the top 50 richest people. (AFP)

Elon Musk, the outspoken and envelope-pushing chief executive of Tesla, has overtaken Amazon boss Jeff Bezos to become the world's wealthiest person, US media reported.

Musk is a major shareholder of the electric car company and has benefited from Tesla's surging share price over the last year. CNBC estimated Musk's wealth at $185 billion.

Musk's wealth surge over the past year marks the fastest rise to the top of the rich list in history and marks a dramatic financial turnaround for the famed entrepreneur who just 18 months ago was in the headlines for Tesla's rapid cash burn and his personal leverage against Tesla's stock.

Musk started 2020 worth about $27 billion and was barely in the top 50 richest people.

Tesla's rocketing share price which has increased more than nine-fold over the past year along with his generous pay package has added more than $150 billion to his net worth.

READ MORE: Tesla cuts battery cost to speed global shift to renewable energy

Amazon share rate

Meanwhile, Amazon's share price has remained more subdued due to the potential for increased regulation from Washington.

Elon Musk passed Warren Buffett in July to become the seventh richest person. 

In November, Musk raced past Bill Gates to become the second richest person. 

Musk has gained more wealth over the past 12 months than Bill Gates' entire net worth of $132 billion.

Tesla's shares were recently trading at about $790, up more than 4 percent in trading Thursday. The company's market value has grown to $737.6 billion.

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Source: TRTWorld and agencies