Steve Jobs’ Death: Visionary Apple Founder Dies After Cancer Battle

Steve Jobs, Apple co-founder and former CEO, has died at the age of 56.

Steven P. Jobs, the visionary co-founder of Apple who helped usher in the era of personal computers and then led a cultural transformation in the way music, movies and mobile communications were experienced in the digital age, died Wednesday. He was 56. Photo: Demonstenes Tech/Flickr

A friend of the family said that Mr. Jobs died of complications from pancreatic cancer, with which he waged a long and public struggle, remaining the face of the company even as he underwent treatment.

Apple released a statement from current CEO Tim Cook, which was sent to company employees: “Apple has lost a visionary and creative genius, and the world has lost an amazing human being.”

“Those of us who have been fortunate enough to know and work with Steve have lost a dear friend and an inspiring mentor. Steve leaves behind a company that only he could have built, and his spirit will forever be the foundation of Apple.”

Steve Jobs’s family said in the statement that “Steve died peacefully today surrounded by his family.”

“In his public life, Steve was known as a visionary; in his private life, he cherished his family. We are thankful to the many people who have shared their wishes and prayers during the last year of Steve’s illness; a website will be provided for those who wish to offer tributes and memories.”

“We are grateful for the support and kindness of those who share our feelings for Steve. We know many of you will mourn with us, and we ask that you respect our privacy during our time of grief.”

In the late 1970s, Jobs, with Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, Mike Markkula, and others, designed, developed, and marketed one of the first commercially successful lines of personal computers, the Apple II series.

After losing a power struggle with the board of directors in 1985, Jobs resigned from Apple and founded NeXT, a computer platform development company specializing in the higher-education and business markets. Apple’s subsequent 1996 buyout of NeXT brought Jobs back to the company he co-founded, and he served as its CEO from 1997 until 2011.

In 1986, he acquired the computer graphics division of Lucasfilm Ltd which was spun off as Pixar Animation Studios. He remained CEO and majority shareholder at 50.1 percent until its acquisition by The Walt Disney company in 2006. Consequently Jobs became Disney’s largest individual shareholder at 7 percent and a member of Disney’s Board of Directors.

With his passion for minimalist design and marketing genius, Jobs changed the course of personal computing during two stints at Apple and then brought a revolution to the mobile market.

The iconic iPod, the iPhone – dubbed the “Jesus phone” for its quasi-religious following – and the iPad are the creation of a man who was known for his near-obsessive control of the product development process.

Steve Jobs underwent surgery in 2004 and received a liver transplant in 2009. He continued to introduce new products for a global market in his trademark blue jeans even as he grew gaunt and frail.

He resigned as CEO of Apple Inc on August 24 – saying he could no longer fulfill the duties – and briefly served as chairman before his death.

“I have always said that if there ever came a day when I could no longer meet my duties and expectations as Apple’s C.E.O., I would be the first to let you know,” Mr. Jobs said in a letter released by the company. “Unfortunately, that day has come.”

“The world rarely sees someone who has had the profound impact Steve has had, the effects of which will be felt for many generations to come,” said Microsoft co-founder and long-time rival Bill Gates. “For those of us lucky enough to get to work with him, it’s been an insanely great honor.”

 President Obama also issued a statement: “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.”

“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.” [via Huff Post, Reuters and The New York Times]

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