Steve Jobs, co-founder and former CEO of Apple Computers, who changed the landscape of the computer industry, has died today at the age of 56. No, it's a not a joke this time.
Apple posted the following statement on their website:
Apple has lost a visionary and creative genius, and the world has lost an amazing human being. Those of us who have been fortunate enough to know and work with Steve have lost a dear friend and an inspiring mentor. Steve leaves behind a company that only he could have built, and his spirit will forever be the foundation of Apple.
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According to a statement by Jobs' family, the mastermind behind Apple died peacefully, surrounded by his loved ones.
In his public life, Steve was known as a visionary; in his private life, he cherished his family. We are thankful to the many people who have shared their wishes and prayers during the last year of Steve's illness; a website will be provided for those who wish to offer tributes and memories.
We are grateful for the support and kindness of those who share our feelings for Steve. We know many of you will mourn with us, and we ask that you respect our privacy during our time of grief.
Neither Jobs' family nor Apple disclosed any information regarding where or how Jobs passed away, but many believe it is related to his fight with pancreatic cancer throughout the past few years, along with his recent liver transplant.
Apple's home page has been replaced with an image to Mr. Jobs, with an image of the man along with the words, “Steve Jobs 1955-2011.”
Along with partner and childhood friend Steve Wozniak, Jobs co-founded Apple computer in 1976. They created the Apple II, which was marketed as the world's first personal computer.
Wozkniak responds to the news of Jobs' sudden death with; “I'm shocked and disturbed.”
Industry rival Bill Gates immediately expressed his condolences to Jobs and his family with a written statement:
“[Jobs and I] have been colleagues, competitors and friends over the course of more than half our lives. 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,” Gates added.
“For those of us lucky enough to get to work with him, it's been an insanely great honor. I will miss Steve immensely.”
The world viewed Steve Jobs as one of the most influential innovators of our time, on par with Thomas Jefferson. He changed the way the world viewed computing, recorded music, and communication.
“Our parents had JFK, we had Steve Jobs. Edison gave us electricity, Jobs gave us the Jetsons in real life. We lost an icon today. Mourn him.”
–Kevin Smith, director