Apple's Steve Jobs dies aged 56
Steven P. Jobs, the Apple Inc. chairman and co-founder who pioneered the personal computer industry and changed the way people think about technology, died Wednesday at the age of 56.
"Steve's brilliance, passion and energy were the source of countless innovations that enrich and improve all of our lives," Apple's board said in a statement. "The world is immeasurably better because of Steve."
His family, in a separate statement, said Mr. Jobs "died peacefully today surrounded by his family...We know many of you will mourn with us, and we ask that you respect our privacy during our time of grief."
The company didn't specify the cause of his death. Mr. Jobs had battled pancreatic cancer and several years ago received a liver transplant. In August, Mr. Jobs stepped down as CEO, handing the reins to Tim Cook.
During his more than three decade-long career, Mr. Jobs transformed Silicon Valley as he helped turn the once sleepy expanse of fruit orchards into the technology industry's innovation center. In addition to laying the groundwork for the modern high-tech industry alongside other pioneers like Microsoft Corp. co-founder Bill Gates and Oracle Corp. founder Larry Ellison, Mr. Jobs proved the appeal of well-designed intuitive products over the sheer power of technology itself and shifted the way consumers interact with technology in an increasingly digital world.
Unlike those men, however, the most productive chapter in Mr. Jobs' career occurred near the end of his life, when a nearly unbroken string of innovative and wildly successful products like the iPod, iPhone and iPad fundamentally changed the PC, electronics and digital media industries. The way he marketed and sold those products through savvy advertising campaigns and its retail stores, in the meanwhile, helped turn the company into a pop culture icon.
At the beginning of that phase, Mr. Jobs once described his philosophy as trying to make products that were at "the intersection of art and technology." In doing so, he turned Apple into the world's most valuable company.
After exhibiting significant weight loss in mid-2008, Mr. Jobs took a nearly six month medical leave of absence in 2009, during which he received a liver transplant. He took another medical leave of absence in mid-January without explanation before stepping down as chief executive in August.
Mr. Jobs is survived by his wife, Laurene, and four children.