Steve Jobs, who was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2004 and underwent a liver transplant in 2009, has died aged 56, less than two months after stepping down as CEO of Apple.
A statement on the Apple website reads:
"Steve Jobs: 1955-2011... 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."
His family released their own 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."
The Guardian reports: "Jobs (who co-founded Apple in 1976) was one of the pioneers of Silicon Valley and helped establish the region's claim as the global centre of technology. He founded Apple with his childhood friend Steve Wozniak, and the two marketed what was considered the world's first personal computer, the Apple II. He was ousted in a bitter boardroom battle in 1985, a move that he later claimed was the best thing that could have happened to him. Jobs went on to buy Pixar, the company behind some of the biggest animated hits in cinema history including Toy Story, Cars and Finding Nemo. He returned to Apple 11 years later when it was being written off by rivals. What followed was one of the most remarkable comebacks in business history... Then came the success of the iPod, which revolutionised the music industry, leading to a collapse in CD sales and making Jobs one of the most powerful voices in an industry he loved. His firm was named in homage to the Beatles' record label, Apple. But the borrowing was permitted on the basis that the computing firm would stay out of music. After the success of the iPod the two Apples became engaged in a lengthy legal battle which finally ended last year when the Beatles allowed iTunes to start selling their back catalogue. Jobs's remarkable capacity to spot what people wanted next came without the aid of market research or focus groups. For something this complicated, it's really hard to design products by focus groups," he once said. "A lot of times, people don't know what they want until you show it to them'."
Leading lights from Silicon Valley have been leaving tributes for Jobs. Leading the way, was Microsoft's Bill Gates, who said: "For those of us lucky enough to get to work with him, it's been an insanely great honour. I will miss Steve immensely. 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... Steve and I first met nearly 30 years ago, and have been colleagues, competitors and friends over the course of more than half our lives. I'm truly saddened to learn of (his) death."
Barack Obama: "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."
Mark Zuckerberg: "Steve, thank you for being a mentor and a friend. Thanks for showing that what you build can change the world. I will miss you."
Carol Bartz (former Yahoo boss): "It's the ultimate sadness. First of all, it's a young person who was revered, sometimes feared, but always revered. He was a very special person, and he didn't get to where he was by having people like him all the time. He got to where he was because he had a vision and a purpose. It's easy to try and please everyone, but he kept to his principles."
Larry Page (Google Chief Executive): "Am very, very sad to hear about Steve. He was a great man with incredible achievements and amazing brilliance."
Jobs, who leaves an estimated $8.3bn (he had many fingers in different pies), said of being one of the richest men in his field: "Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn't matter to me... Going to bed at night saying we've done something wonderful... that's what matters to me."