The former CEO of Apple, Steve Jobs, has died at 56 following a battle with ill health. The news comes just six weeks after the technology guru announced his retirement. The illegitimate son of two academics, Jobs was adopted by an Armenian family and went on co-found Apple and NeXT (which was later acquired by Apple) as well as acquiring Pixar from Lucasfilm Ltd and selling it to Disney for a 7% shareholding. His wealth has been estimated at $8.3 billion.
A statement from the Apple board read:
“We are deeply saddened to announce that Steve Jobs passed away today.
“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.”
In an email to Apple employees, the present CEO, Tim Cook described Steve Jobs as a “dear friend and an inspiring mentor”. President Obama also issued a statement upon hearing the news:
“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.
“By building one of the planet’s most successful companies from his garage, he exemplified the spirit of American ingenuity. By making computers personal and putting the internet in our pockets, he made the information revolution not only accessible, but intuitive and fun. And by turning his talents to storytelling, he has brought joy to millions of children and grownups alike. 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.
“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. Michelle and I send our thoughts and prayers to Steve’s wife Laurene, his family, and all those who loved him.”
Tributes have also flowed in from world leaders such as the Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard through to rival magnate Bill Gates.