Steve Jobs, Apple 'visionary', dies aged 56


Jobs introduced the iPod and the iPhone to the world

Steve Jobs, co-founder and former chief executive of US technology giant Apple, has died at the age of 56.

Apple said he had been "the source of countless innovations that enrich and improve all of our lives" and had made the world "immeasurably better".

Mr Jobs had announced he was suffering from pancreatic cancer in 2004.

Tributes have been made by technology company bosses and world leaders, with US President Barack Obama saying the world had "lost a visionary".

"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," said Mr Obama.

A statement from Mr Jobs's family said they were with him when he died peacefully on Wednesday.

An iPhone displays an image of Steve Jobs at a makeshift memorial outside an Apple Store in New York on 5 October 2011

"In his public life, Steve was known as a visionary; in his private life, he cherished his family," they said, requesting privacy and thanking those who had "shared their wishes and prayers" during his final year.

Apple said the company had "lost a visionary and creative genius, and the world has lost an amazing human being".

Tim Cook, who was made Apple's CEO after Mr Jobs stood down in August, said his predecessor had left behind "a company that only he could have built, and his spirit will forever be the foundation of Apple".

Flags are being flown at half mast outside the Apple headquarters in Cupertino, California, while fans of the company have left tributes outside Apple shops around the world.

"What he's done for us as a culture, it resonates uniquely in every person," said Cory Moll, an Apple employee in San Francisco.

"Even if they never use an Apple product, the impact they have had is so far-reaching."

At the company's Shanghai shop, customer Jin Yi said Mr Jobs had created gadgets which had "changed people's perceptions of machines".

Rivals' tributes

Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak will remember Mr Jobs for "knowing what made sense in a product"

The heads of other leading technology companies have also paid tribute, including Microsoft boss Bill Gates, who said Mr Jobs's "profound impact" on the world of technology would "be felt for many generations to come".

"For those of us lucky enough to get to work with him, it's been an insanely great honour. I will miss Steve immensely."

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg thanks Mr Jobs for "showing that what you build can change the world" while Sony Corp president and CEO Howard Stringer said: "The digital age has lost its leading light."

South Korea's Samsung, which is involved in an ongoing legal battle with Apple over patents, praised Mr Jobs for his "numerous revolutionary changes to the information technology industry".

At the scene

On the pavements outside the main Apple offices is a small, simple but very effective memorial to Steve Jobs - just like many of the products he designed.

"Jobs" - spelt out in small tea light candles alongside the Chinese symbol for Steve - and then the Apple logo. And inside the candlelit design, an iPad with Steve Jobs's photo on the screen.

Late into the night in America's Silicon Valley they are still arriving to take photos, lay candles and messages. One former employee described Steve Jobs as the John Lennon of technology. Another Taiwanese-born resident of Cupertino who has never bought an Apple product said he came down to pay respects to a man who changed the world.

"His innovative spirit and remarkable accomplishments will forever be remembered by people around the world," said chief executive officer Choi Gee-Sung.

Mr Jobs built a reputation as a forthright and demanding leader who could take niche technologies - such as the mouse and graphical user interface, using onscreen icons rather than text - and make them popular with the general public.

He introduced the colourful iMac computer, the iPod, the iPhone and the iPad to the world. His death came just a day after Apple unveiled its latest iPhone 4S model.

With a market value estimated at $351bn (£227bn), Apple became the world's most valuable technology company.

'Face of Apple'

More than almost any other business leader, Mr Jobs was indistinguishable from his company, which he co-founded in the 1970s.

Life of Steve Jobs

  • Born in San Francisco in Feb 1955 to students Joanne Schieble and Syrian-born Abdulfattah Jandali - adopted by a Californian working class couple
  • Had a summer job at Hewlett-Packard while at school - later worked at Atari
  • Dropped out of college after six months and went travelling in India, where he became a Buddhist
  • Launched Apple with school friend Steve Wozniak in 1976 - first Apple computer sold the same year
  • Left Apple amid disputes in 1985 but returned in 1996 and became CEO in 1997
  • Bought Pixar animation company in 1986 for $10m
  • Married in a Buddhist ceremony in 1991 - has three children with his wife and a daughter from a previous relationship
  • Had a personal wealth estimated at $8.3bn (£5.4bn) in 2010
  • Diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2003, and after three periods of sickness leave, resigns as Apple CEO in August 2011

As the face of Apple, he represented its dedication to high-end technology and fashionable design.

And inside the company he exerted a level of influence unheard of in most businesses.

In 2004, Mr Jobs announced that he was suffering from pancreatic cancer. He had a liver transplant five years later.

In January, he took medical leave, before resigning as CEO in August and handing over his duties to Mr Cook.

In his resignation letter, Mr Jobs said: "I believe Apple's brightest and most innovative days are ahead of it. And I look forward to watching and contributing to its success in a new role."

However, Mr Jobs stayed on as Apple's chairman.

Despite his high profile, he remained fiercely protective of his private life.

He married his wife Laurene in 1991, and the couple had three children.

Mr Jobs also leaves a daughter from a previous relationship, and as an adult he discovered that he had a biological sister, US novelist Mona Simpson.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 567.

    Even so i am not a Great Fan or would buy an Apple Product
    RIP to Steve Jobs

  • rate this

    Comment number 566.

    558.Richard Gilbert
    How about those that came up with the vaccine for polio Salk, those who eradicated smallpox WHO, the web (cf arab spring) Tim Berners-Lee, found the link between lung cancer and smoking Richard Doll.

    If you think Jobs is in that class you're wrong, if you don't know the names use the internet (not invented by Jobs by the way)

  • rate this

    Comment number 565.

    I was shocked to discover via the BBC that today we lost the inventor of windows, smart phones, the tablet PC and the mp3 player. What are the chances of that happening on the same day as Steve Jobs dying?

  • rate this

    Comment number 564.

    Steve Inspired me and my two daughters when we saw his speech on Youtube made at Sanford University (highly recommended). We were deeply saddened by his death and felt we had lost someone we knew although we had never met him. May he Rest in Peace and our thought go to his family.

  • rate this

    Comment number 563.

    Thanks Steve, Sync complete. You may disconnect..... RIP

  • rate this

    Comment number 562.

    @potatolord (381) - Mr Jobs did not invent the computer, or the mouse or GUI for that matter. The best you could say about him was that he was a successful promoter of computer technology, not a technologist himself.
    Note: The first computer was invented by Babbage in the 19th century, and the first electronic computer was Colossus, which was built at Bletchley Park during World War 2.

  • rate this

    Comment number 561.

    Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak made personal computing a thing of beauty.

  • rate this

    Comment number 560.

    when my son bought the first Ipod i was thrilled. Later the Iphone which i had bought made my day to day activities simpler. I knew Steve JOb was behind all these innovations. He is not only a great visoinary but also marketing wizard.

    RIP Steve

  • rate this

    Comment number 559.

    The man has died and some people are sad enough to use his death to bash Apple.

    RIP Steve Jobs. A true visionary.

  • rate this

    Comment number 558.

    Very few people can have left the world more transformed by their innovations for good than Steve Jobs. Right now I'm struggling to come up with one other.

  • rate this

    Comment number 557.

    Although I was not an Apple user, I was a Steve and Apple admirer. The world has lost a great man who understood the importance of functionality; the art of form; and knew how to inspire people to strive for excellence.

    What better tribute could there be to this great man than each year on the anniversary of his death, all Apple’s profits for that day are given to charities worldwide.

  • rate this

    Comment number 556.

    Very sad news and a huge loss to a great and unique man who really knew how to be truly successful and invent great technology ahead of the game.

    RIP, sincere condolences.

  • rate this

    Comment number 555.

    Steve Jobs was possibly the only CEO that has truly recognised what 'Better' was and how to give it to us. The world will miss his magic and inspiration but thankfully he's left us all with some of his genius.

  • rate this

    Comment number 554.

    Jobs was a classic American salesman but one takes issue with his ability to innovate. The younger public seem to believe he invented just about everything whereas in reality he took only existing technology and repacked it with good cosmetic styling whilst his products’ functionally was lower than many and his prices higher than average. A great salesman though whose showmanship will be missed.

  • rate this

    Comment number 553.

    Wow, every single comment on my facebook feed over the last 9hours refers to this great man. Likened to Gandhi and Einstein and at the end of the day just a CEO. RIP

  • Comment number 552.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 551.

    peoples attitudes/perceptions on here change like the wind

    Apple make non essential items and make billions in profits whilst tesco sell essential items like FOOD and get lambasted for making a profit?

    this forum has truly gone mad

    i don't own a single Apple product - what do i 'need' that they offer?

    farce/secrecy every time one of their stores opens - and fools queue for hours - why?

  • rate this

    Comment number 550.

    Re Foxxconn, they are a manufacturing company for nearly all the large electronics companies. The suicide rate at Foxxconn is below the statistical average for the number that work there. More people committed suicide at France Telecom. There are many things you can single Apple out for criticism, but this isnt one of them.

  • rate this

    Comment number 549.


    "The man just died. Show a little respect! There will be a time and a place to debate the merits of his companys products, but this is not it."

    In what way did I not show respect? I said I was sad that a human died! All I'm saying is that people should check their facts before posting things that are completely untrue.

  • rate this

    Comment number 548.

    Big bucket of win.


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