The computer multinational, Apple, has announced that its co-founder Steve Jobs has died at the age of 56.
Mr Jobs, who stepped down as chief executive for health reasons in August, had been suffering from pancreatic cancer, which was first diagnosed in 2004.
He is regarded as one of the most influential individuals and greatest innovators of his generation, affecting the lives of hundreds of millions of people.
“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 Microsoft co-founder and long-time rival Bill Gates.
“For those of us lucky enough to get to work with him, it’s been an insanely great honour.”
Mr Jobs died yesterday in Palo Alto, California, surrounded by his family. The circumstances of his passing were unclear, but Mr Jobs had a long battle with cancer and other health issues.
Mr Jobs’ family thanked many for their prayers during the last year of Steves illness.
A college dropout, Mr Jobs floated through India in search of spiritual guidance prior to founding Apple – a name he suggested to his friend and co-founder Steve Wozniak after a visit to a commune in Oregon he referred to as an “apple orchard”.
With his passion for minimalist design and marketing genius, Mr Jobs changed the course of personal computing during two stints at Apple and then brought a revolution to the mobile market.
The iconic iPod, the iPhone – dubbed the “Jesus phone” for its quasi-religious following – and the iPad are the creation of a man who was known for his near-obsessive control of the product development process.
“Most mere mortals cannot understand a person like Steve Jobs,” said bestselling author and venture capitalist Guy Kawasaki, a former Apple employee, in a recent interview. He considers Mr Jobs “the greatest CEO in the history of man”, adding that he just had “a different operating system.”
Charismatic, visionary, ruthless, perfectionist, dictator – these are some of the words that people have used to describe Mr Jobs, who may have been the biggest dreamer the technology world has ever known, but also was a hard-edged businessman and negotiator through and through.
“Steve was the best of the best. Like Mozart and Picasso, he may never be equaled,” said Marc Andreessen, venture capitalist and co-founder of Netscape Communications.
Mr Gates had called Mr Jobs the most inspiring person in the tech industry and US President Barack Obama held him up as the embodiment of the American Dream.
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