Steve Jobs, the bril­liant entre­pre­neur and vision­ary who cofound­ed Apple at the age of twen­ty-one and lat­er res­cued it when it seemed on the brink of col­lapse, died today, the com­pa­ny announced. He was fifty-six.

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,” read a state­ment on the com­pa­ny’s website.

Reac­tion to the sad news poured in quick­ly from around the world.

“Michelle and I are sad­dened to learn of the pass­ing of Steve Jobs,” said Pres­i­dent Barack Oba­ma. “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. By build­ing one of the planet’s most suc­cess­ful com­pa­nies from his garage, he exem­pli­fied the spir­it of Amer­i­can ingenuity.

“By mak­ing com­put­ers per­son­al and putting the inter­net in our pock­ets, he made the infor­ma­tion rev­o­lu­tion not only acces­si­ble, but intu­itive and fun.”

“And by turn­ing his tal­ents to sto­ry­telling, he has brought joy to mil­lions of chil­dren and grownups alike. Steve was fond of say­ing that he lived every day like it was his last.  Because he did, he trans­formed our lives, rede­fined entire indus­tries, and achieved one of the rarest feats in human his­to­ry: he changed the way each of us sees the world.

“The world has lost a vision­ary. And there may be no greater trib­ute to Steve’s suc­cess than the fact that much of the world learned of his pass­ing on a device he invent­ed. Michelle and I send our thoughts and prayers to Steve’s wife Lau­rene, his fam­i­ly, and all those who loved him.”

“Steve was such an ‘orig­i­nal,’ with a thor­ough­ly cre­ative, imag­i­na­tive mind that defined an era,” added Dis­ney CEO Bob Iger. “Despite all he accom­plished, it feels like he was just get­ting start­ed. With his pass­ing the world has lost a rare orig­i­nal, Dis­ney has lost a mem­ber of our fam­i­ly, and I have lost a great friend.”

“I send my deep­est con­do­lences to Steve Jobs’ fam­i­ly and friends on this dev­as­tat­ing loss,” said Sen­a­tor Bar­bara Box­er. “Steve Jobs was a Cal­i­for­nia icon who embod­ied Sil­i­con Val­ley’s entre­pre­neur­ial spir­it of cre­ativ­i­ty and opti­mism. By rev­o­lu­tion­iz­ing com­mu­ni­ca­tions, he touched the lives of bil­lions of peo­ple around the world. He will be sore­ly missed.”

“I’m tru­ly sad­dened to learn of Steve Jobs’ death,” said Microsoft cofounder Bill Gates. “Melin­da and I extend our sin­cere con­do­lences to his fam­i­ly and friends, and to every­one Steve has touched through his work.”

“Steve and I first met near­ly 30 years ago, and 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. For those of us lucky enough to get to work with him, it’s been an insane­ly great honor.”

“I will miss Steve immensely.”

Jobs is sur­vived by his wife and four chil­dren. The fam­i­ly released the fol­low­ing sep­a­rate state­ment to the press in response to their loss.

Steve died peace­ful­ly today sur­round­ed by his family.

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.

In an email sent to Apple employ­ees, new CEO Tim Cook announced that the com­pa­ny would soon hold a cel­e­bra­tion of Jobs’ life, with fur­ther details to be revealed lat­er. Apple has already low­ered the flags at its Cuper­ti­no cam­pus to half-staff in hon­or of Jobs.

About the author

Andrew Villeneuve is the founder and executive director of the Northwest Progressive Institute, as well as the founder of NPI's sibling, the Northwest Progressive Foundation. He has worked to advance progressive causes for over two decades as a strategist, speaker, author, and organizer. Andrew is also a cybersecurity expert, a veteran facilitator, a delegate to the Washington State Democratic Central Committee, and a member of the Climate Reality Leadership Corps.

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One reply on “Steve Jobs: 1955–2011”

  1. A lot of com­pa­nies have cho­sen to down­size, and maybe that was the right thing for them. We chose a dif­fer­ent path. Our belief was that if we kept putting great prod­ucts in front of cus­tomers, they would con­tin­ue to open their wallets.

    — Steve Jobs.

    RIP Steve. You were a true innovator.

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