President Barack Obama has released a statement paying tribute to Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, who passed away Wednesday and was remembered by Obama as “among the greatest of American innovators.”
“Michelle and I are saddened to learn of the passing of Steve Jobs. Steve was among the greatest of American innovators – brave enough to think differently, bold enough to believe he could change the world, and talented enough to do it ,” Obama wrote.
He continued: “By building one of the planet’s most successful companies from his garage, he exemplified the spirit of American ingenuity. By making computers personal and putting the internet in our pockets, he made the information revolution not only accessible, but intuitive and fun.”
“And by turning his talents to storytelling, he has brought joy to millions of children and grownups alike. Steve was fond of saying that he lived every day like it was his last. Because he did, he transformed our lives, redefined entire industries, and achieved one of the rarest feats in human history: he changed the way each of us sees the world.”
“The world has lost a visionary. And there may be no greater tribute to Steve’s success than the fact that much of the world learned of his passing on a device he invented. Michelle and I send our thoughts and prayers to Steve’s wife Laurene, his family, and all those who loved him,” he added.
Separately, the president said through his twitter account, “Rest in peace, Steve Jobs. From all of us at #Obama2012, thank you for the work you make possible every day – including ours.”
Steve Jobs died on Wednesday at the age of 56 after a long battle with pancreatic cancer. His death was announced by Apple. Mr. Jobs personally gave Obama an iPad before its launch.
And at a February meal with Silicon Valley’s top executives in February this year, Jobs sat to Obama’s left at the table, while Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg sat to the his right. Jobs and Obama were also said to have dined together recently.
Fans paid homage to Jobs outside Apple stores around the world, from Los Angeles to Sydney. Outside one store in New York, mourners laid candles, bouquets of flowers, an apple and an iPod Touch in a makeshift memorial. In San Francisco, they held up black-and-white portraits of Jobs on their iPads.
Obama was joined by luminaries from the tech industry, such as Bill Gates, Larry Page and Mark Zuckerberg in honoring Jobs’ contributions and offering their condolences to his family.
“For those of us lucky enough to get to work with him, it’s been an insanely great honor,” said Microsoft’s Bill Gates, who once triumphed over Jobs but has seen his legendary status overtaken by the Apple co-founder in recent years.
Politicians also chimed in. Mitt Romney, for example, said Steve Jobs “is an inspiration to American entrepreneurs” who “will be missed,” while John Boehner tweeted, “Steve Jobs changed the world for the better w/ his innovations & genius. R.I.P.”
Many websites, including Apple’s own, were transformed into online memorials, a testament to the digital creativity that Jobs inspired.
Jobs was surrounded by his wife and immediate family when he died in Palo Alto, California, Apple said late on Wednesday. Other details were not immediately available.
Jobs stepped down as Apple CEO in August this year and handed the reins to long-time operations chief Tim Cook. With a passion for minimalist design and a genius for marketing, Jobs laid the groundwork for the company to continue to flourish after his death, most analysts and investors say.