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.


More on This Story

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites


This entry is now closed for comments

Jump to comments pagination
  • rate this

    Comment number 587.

    I have to say I died a little inside reading some of the comments on here, from people who just couldn't wait to lay waste to this man's memory. I agree he is being oversold to an extent, but the man's company and vision has had a profound impact on society. Perhaps Edison level - who knows. I simply suggest that your gripes about other undervalued individuals are aired in more appropriate places.

  • Comment number 586.

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

  • rate this

    Comment number 585.

    To Snaggle:
    Do any of you PC geeks live in the 21st century? All Apple computers have right-click. The notebooks have TOUCHPADS. You use gestures to "right-click" in the 2010s, not click buttons! Wake up!

  • rate this

    Comment number 584.

    how many people worldwide die each day of pancreatic cancer and nobody apart from their family etc mourn their loss?

    this is bizarre celebrity culture at its worst!

  • rate this

    Comment number 583.

    Obviously Steve was not everyone's cup of tea but no one can deny he and his team have had a huge impact on many people's lives. That he fought his killer disease for so long shows the strength of the man and I have nothing but respect for him even if I don't use his products. A sad loss to his family and many millions of others.RIP.

  • rate this

    Comment number 582.

    I like the reason for the original single button mouse. Apple thought that most people who would be using Apple's were too thick to use more than one button. They were originally developed as management information systems. XD

  • rate this

    Comment number 581.

    No matter what technology you use or the way you use it, Apple - under Steve Jobs - has influenced it. The devices they produced were simple, elegant yet functional and this has changed just about everything - laptops rarely look like paving slabs any more, phones are now usable with chubby fingers, rather than useless styli, and music players have been transformed into handheld media devices.

  • rate this

    Comment number 580.

    @Neilly 550
    Well that's OK then. The dozen or so deaths and the 20+ averted ones are par for the course! Let the Apple worshipping continue!!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 579.

    I've never even held an Apple product in my life, but I feel the loss of a man with a deep sense of humanity.

  • rate this

    Comment number 578.

    Steve Jobs was the ultimate technology showman and a hard-headed businessman. He made good looking products and made you believe that they were the best thing ever, even when they weren't. Lets not forget that iTunes is a massive monopoly and that all Apple mobile devices are heavily restricted. It's an ironic twist considering the Mac was launched with an advert lampooning George Orwell's 1984.

  • rate this

    Comment number 577.

    I find it hard to think of a man who has single handedly influenced a larger number of people with his work. He has revolutionised the modern world and changed the way most of us run our daily lives... and for the better! His legacy will forever continue in the future of communications and entertainment technology.

    iThanks Steve

  • rate this

    Comment number 576.

    I was told that the reason he chose the Apple name was as a tribute to Alan Turing, the code cracker during WWII, widely considered to be the father of computer science, who was later persecuted for being a homosexual and killed himself by eating a cyanide-laced apple, rather than going to jail. Hence, Apple's logo of an apple with a bite taken out of it. Can anyone confirm this?

  • rate this

    Comment number 575.

    Steve Jobs's innovation and genius has enabled ordinary folk to make a quantum leap into the future.
    My IPhone gives me independence, makes me more effective at work and at home and saves me such a lot of time.
    So sad that there wasn't an equivalent scientific genius who had discovered a miraculaous cure for his cancer.

  • rate this

    Comment number 574.

    A remarkable man and a visionary who was one of the creators at the birth of the home pc revolution. Who knows where we'd be without his skills

  • rate this

    Comment number 573.

    Very sad. As a tribute to his memory, perhaps Apple can now do something to rectify the murderous exploitation of the Chinese workers who are helping to make the company monstrously high profits.

  • rate this

    Comment number 572.

    I think the negative ratings say more about the person judging rather than the posts themselves on what is basically an obit.

    I use Apple and Windows products but prefer the former because I can get on and use them for my business without hassle. Jobs was a large part of that.

    =>551 People don't have to buy Apple products. They do need food but Tesco tactics force small retailers out of business

  • rate this

    Comment number 571.

    The mistake Apple made in the early days of the Personal Computer was not to allow software development companies access to it's O/S.
    Who then would have heard of Microsoft.

  • rate this

    Comment number 570.

    R.I.P(hone) - a great man..!

  • rate this

    Comment number 569.

    We join the rest of the world in mourning the sad passing of a truly remarkable man today, whose contribution to the world has been astonishing. Steve Jobs you have been an inspiration to us all and will continue to be so. RIP. Our heartfelt condolences go out to his family and friends.

  • rate this

    Comment number 568.

    A Eulogy to Steve Jobs

    iMac, uPay
    iPod, uPay
    iPhone, uPay
    iCame, iSaw, iConquered


Page 12 of 41


More US & Canada stories



Copyright © 2015 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.