Apple cofounder and tech visionary Steve Jobs has passed away at the age of 56. The news has been confirmed by Apple itself and follows just over a month after Jobs stepped down as the company's CEO, due to ongoing health complications. Jobs revealed in 2004 that he had a rare form of pancreatic cancer and he underwent a liver transplant in April 2009. He was on medical leave for approximately eight months before his resignation.
"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. Unfortunately, that day has come," Jobs wrote in a public letter at the time. He handed the reigns over to Apple veteran Tim Cook and although the move caused the company's stock to drop initially, it has performed well during Jobs' absence. It remains to be seen if that success will continue without his insight.
Jobs wasn't always hailed as Apple's iconic leader. In 1985, the company ousted its cofounder following a dip in sales that caused internal friction between Jobs and then CEO John Sculley. Jobs went on to launch a new computer company, NeXT Computer, and he purchased The Graphics Group (now called Pixar) from Lucasfilm in 1986. Despite being fired from his own company, Jobs later claimed that it was the best thing that could have happened to him.
After his lengthy hiatus, Jobs sold NeXT Computer to Apple in 1996 and rejoined Cupertino's ranks. He technically served as "interim" CEO until 2000 when his status as chief executive became official. Today, Jobs is regarded as Apple's savior, guiding the ailing company back to profitability with innovative mass-market products, not least of which were the iPod and iPhone. In May 2010, Apple surpassed Microsoft to become second most valuable US company.
Along with his vast contributions to Apple, Jobs became a board member and the largest shareholder of The Walt Disney Company in 2006 after selling Pixar animation studios. In March, he was featured on Forbes' list of the world's billionaires with a net worth of approximately $8.3 billion. He leaves behind Laurene Powell, his wife of 20 years, their three children and a fourth child from a previous relationship, as well as countless friends and followers.
Thank you Steve. Rest in peace.