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.