Steve Jobs, Apple founder died today after a heavy and lengthy battle with pancreatic cancer.
Tributes, led by President Barack Obama, began pouring in within minutes of the company confirming the death of Steve Jobs, the mastermind behind the iPhone, iPad and the iPod at the age of 56.
“We are deeply saddened to announce that Steve Jobs passed away today,” read a statement by Apple’s board of directors.
“Steve’s brilliance, passion and energy were the source of countless innovations that enrich and improve all of our lives. The world is immeasurably better because of Steve.
“His greatest love was for his wife, Laurene, and his family. Our hearts go out to them and to all who were touched by his extraordinary gifts.”
The homepage of Apple’s website this evening switched to a full-page image of Jobs with the text, “Steve Jobs 1955-2011”.
Clicking on the image revealed the additional text:
“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 leaves a wife, a son and two daughters.
Steve Jobs’ relatives also released a statement, which said he “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.”
Apple CEO Tim Cook announced the news of Steve Jobs’s death to Apple employees via e-mail:
“I have some very sad news to share with all of you. Steve passed away earlier today.
“We are planning a celebration of Steve’s extraordinary life for Apple employees that will take place soon.
“No words can adequately express our sadness at Steve’s death or our gratitude for the opportunity to work with him. We will honour his memory by dedicating ourselves to continuing the work he loved so much.”
Within minutes of his death being confirmed, tributes to Steve Jobs began flooding the web, led by President Barack Obama, who tweeted:
“Rest in peace, Steve Jobs. From all of us at #Obama2012, thank you for the work you make possible every day – including ours.”
Barack Obama later gave a fuller statement, in which he praised Steve Jobs as a “visionary” who was “bold enough to believe he could change the world, and talented enough to do it”.
“The world has lost a visionary,” Obama said.
“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.
“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.”
From its earliest beginnings as a personal computer also-ran in a scrappy garage in northern California to its all-conquering development of life-changing gadgets the rise of Apple has been intrinsically linked to Steve Jobs.
When Steve Jobs left for eleven years after a row over the company’s direction, Apple’s fortunes dipped.
His return, after a successful stint as head of animation innovators Pixar, marked the start of the company’s relentless drive to become one of America’s biggest and most successful companies.
Steve Jobs’ death comes just six weeks after his poor health led him to stand down as the company’s CEO and his successor, Tim Cook, presented the new generation iPhone yesterday.
The fact that Apple stayed cool as it grew is credited to Steve Jobs’ innovative marketing techniques almost as much as his visionary wizardry.
Even when he announced that he was taking two years off on medical leave, Steve Jobs still kept hold of his CEO title, just as he did on two previous occasions in the past seven years when he needed to take leave from the day-to-day running of the company for health reasons.
At the time, Steve Jobs could barely walk and photographs of him looking gaunt and frail led to reports that he just had weeks to live.
But Steve Jobs fought back and appeared to be relishing proving the doubters wrong by introducing the second-generation iPad and meeting up with President Obama to discuss the future of the tech industry.
Other than his well-rehearsed stage appearances to launch the latest Apple innovation, Steve Jobs always treasured his privacy.
Steve Jobs survived surgery to remove a cancerous pancreatic tumor in 2004 and a liver transplant in 2009.
As CEO, Steve Jobs earned only $1 a year, but he held 5,426 million Apple shares as well as 138 million shares in Disney.
Steve Jobs’ wealth is estimated at more than $5billion.
With his trademark jeans and casual jumper, Steve Jobs became synonymous with the company’s every innovation in recent years, from the iPod through to the iPhone and iPad.
Born in San Francisco, Steve Jobs, who was adopted, dropped out of university after one term and only took his first computer job to raise money to go on a spiritual retreat to India.
Steve Jobs returned a Buddhist with his head shaved and admitted experimenting with LSD, calling his drug-induced experiences ‘one of the two or three most important things’ he had done in his life.
Back in northern California, Steve Jobs started working for computer firm Atari before founding Apple in his garage in 1976 with friends Steve Wozniak, Ronald Wayne and Mike Makkula.
After a power struggle in 1985, Steve Jobs left the company, only to return eleven years later to launch the company’s extraordinary growth over the past fourteen years.
One of the world’s most famous CEOs, Steve Jobs remained stubbornly private about his personal life, refusing interviews and shielding his wife and their children from public view.
Even when he resigned six weeks ago, he divulged very little, not directly mentioning his cancer as the reason he quit.
“I have always said if there ever came a day when I could no longer meet my duties and expectations as Apple’s CEO, I would be the first to let you know,” Steve Jobs wrote in his letter of resignation.
“Unfortunately, that day has come.”
But that personal life – he was given up at birth for adoption, had an illegitimate child, was romantically linked with movie stars – was full of intrigue for his fan base and Apple consumers.
Steve Jobs and his wife, Laurene Powell, were married in a small ceremony in Yosemite National Park in 1991, lived in Woodside, California, and had three children: Reed Paul, Erin Sienna and Eve.
Steve Jobs admitted that when he was 23, he had a child out of wedlock with his high school girlfriend, Chris Ann Brennan. Their daughter, Lisa Brennan Jobs, was born in 1978.