Apple announced the death of Steve Jobs yesterday, due to complications from the pancreatic cancer he had battled since 2004. He was 56.
"Apple has lost a visionary and creative genius, and the world has lost an amazing human being," said a statement on Apple's website, calling Jobs "a dear friend and an inspiring mentor."
Born on February 24, 1955, and subsequently adopted, Jobs grew to be a pioneer of the personal computer at a time when computers were used primarily for crunching numbers at research labs and corporations. He also was a visionary behind navigating and interacting with a computer by clicking images on a screen with a mouse, a concept that is virtually inseparable from computing today.
After Jobs dropped out of Reed College in Oregon, Jobs founded Apple with friend Steve Wozniak; the two built Apple's first commercial product, Apple I, in Jobs' parents' garage in 1976, and released the first Macintosh computer in 1984. Jobs' hometown of Cupertino, Calif., would become home to Apple's headquarters.
In 1986, Jobs left Apple after a power struggle, and in his hiatus, bought Pixar Animation Studios from George Lucas prior to the launch of the computer-animated Toy Story. The success of Toy Story and subsequent public offering of Pixar made Jobs a billionaire.
After rejoining Apple in 1996 and becoming CEO again in 2000, he launched a series of products that would change the way digital content was consumed forever, starting with the iPod in 2001, iTunes in 2003, the iPhone in 2007, and the iPad in 2010. With an official annual salary of $1, Jobs grew the company to more than 300 retail stores in 11 countries, selling more than 275 million iPods, 100 million iPhones, and 25 million iPads worldwide. Apple even briefly topped Exxon Mobil as the world's most valuable company in 2011.
Jobs had taken a few medical leaves of absence since announcing his diagnosis of pancreatic cancer in 2004, including one for a liver transplant in 2009. He stepped down as chief executive of Apple in August of this year, and Tim Cook took over the position of Apple CEO. Apple announced iOS 5, the iCloud, and the iPhone 4S the day before Jobs passed away.
Jobs is survived by his wife of 20 years, Laurene, and four children.
Apple says that those wishing to express thoughts, memories, or condolences should email firstname.lastname@example.org.