SAN FRANCISCO: Apple co-founder and former CEO Steve Jobs, counted among the greatest American CEOs of his generation, died on Wednesday at the age of 56, after a years-long and highly public battle with cancer and other health issues.
Jobs' death was announced by Apple in a statement late on Wednesday. The Silicon Valley icon who gave the world the iPod and the iPhone had resigned as CEO of the world's largest technology corporation in August, handing the reins to current chief executive Tim Cook.
A survivor of a rare form of pancreatic cancer, he was deemed the heart and soul of a company that rivals Exxon Mobil as the most valuable in America.
''Steve's brilliance, passion and energy were the source of countless innovations that enrich and improve all of our lives. The world is immeasurably better because of Steve,'' Apple said in a statement announcing Jobs' passing.
''His greatest love was for his wife, Laurene, and his family. Our hearts go out to them and to all who were touched by his extraordinary gifts.''
Job's health had been a controversial topic for years. His battle with cancer had been of deep concern to Apple fans, investors and the company's board alike. Over past years, even board members have confided to friends their concern that Jobs, in his quest for privacy, wasn't being forthcoming enough with directors about the true condition of his health.
Now, despite investor confidence in Cook, who has stood in for his boss during three leaves of absence, there remain concerns about whether the company would stay a creative force to be reckoned with beyond the next year or so without its founder and visionary at the helm.
The news triggered an immediate outpouring of sympathy. Among others, Microsoft CEO Bill Gates said he will miss Jobs ''immensely''. - theStarOnlineRelated Stories:
The man and his gadgets
Twitter users mourn loss of Steve Jobs