Steve Jobs — the visionary and entrepreneur who co-founded Apple -- one of the world's most influential and impactful companies -- has died at the age of 56 after a seven-year battle with a rare form of pancreatic cancer. In 2009 Jobs also underwent a liver transplant. He only took three leaves of absence since 2004, when his cancer was first announced, and stepped down as CEO in August, 2011.
Jobs' family released the following statement:
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.
And incoming Apple CEO Tim Cook sent the following email to all Apple employees upon learning of Jobs' death:
I have some very sad news to share with all of you. Steve passed away earlier today.
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.
We are planning a celebration of Steve’s extraordinary life for Apple employees that will take place soon. If you would like to share your thoughts, memories and condolences in the interim, you can simply email firstname.lastname@example.org.
No words can adequately express our sadness at Steve’s death or our gratitude for the opportunity to work with him. We will honor his memory by dedicating ourselves to continuing the work he loved so much.
The Apple website provides the same contact email address as the one featured in Cook's letter, for others outside the Apple community wishing to share their thoughts or condolences.
"It boggles the mind to think of all the things that Steve Jobs did," said Silicon Valley venture capitalist Roger McNamee, who worked with Jobs.
According to an article in NPR, McNamee said that in addition to introducing the world to desktop publishing and computer animated movies, Jobs should be credited with creating the first commercially successful computer:
"Any one of those would have qualified him as one of the great executives in American history," McNamee says, "the sum of which put him in a place where no one else has ever been before. To me he is of his era what Thomas Edison was to the beginning of the 20th century."
Jobs was only 21-years old when he co-founded Apple Computer in his garage in Cupertino, California. He was forced out of the company a decade later but returned in 1997 to rescue Apple from the bring of financial ruin. During his second run, Apple grew into the most valuable technology company in the world with a market value of $351 billion. Fox News reports that only Exxon Mobil is worth more.
Fox provides a report touching on some milestones in Jobs' life: