Apple co-founder and former chief executive officer Steve Jobs, which is one of the greatest American CEOs of this generation, died on Wednesday, after spending years battling an unusual form of pancreatic cancer and other health issues. Jobs was 56 years old.
“We are deeply saddened to announce that Steve Jobs passed away today,” said Apple in a statement. “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.”
Steve Jobs was one of Silicon Valley’s pioneers and helped establish the region’s claim as the world’s center of technology. He, with his childhood friend Steve Wozniak, founded Apple Inc. and marketed the Apple II, the world’s first personal computer.
In 1985, he was ousted in a boardroom battle; a move that he claimed was the best thing that happened to him. Jobs then bought animation company Pixar, the company behind Cars, Toy Story and Finding Nemo.
Eleven years later, Jobs returned to Apple when the company was having a hard time. Under his watch, the company made one of the biggest comebacks in business history. Apple Inc. has briefly enjoyed being the most valuable company in the world earlier this year, overtaking oil giant Exxon Mobil.
“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,” said Bill Gates, one of Jobs’ biggest rivals in the tech industry. “For those of us lucky enough to get to work with him, it’s been an insanely great honour. I will miss Steve immensely.”
Earlier this year, Jobs took a medical leave of absence and on August 24, he stepped down as the CEO of Apple, saying “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.”