Former Apple CEO and Chairman Steve Jobs has died at age 56. Apple’s main web page has become an understated memorial to its visionary leader, who has widely been credited with having created the personal computer industry during his first years at Apple, then reshaping the music, telephone, and computer industries in his second stretch.
Our deepest condolences go out to Mr. Jobs’ family, and all the employees of Apple who—like us—are already feeling the pain of his loss. The impact of his life cannot be overstated.
“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,” reads a passage posted to the company’s website. In a separate statement published by the Wall Street Journal, Jobs’ family said he “died peacefully today surrounded by his family…We know many of you will mourn with us, and we ask that you respect our privacy during our time of grief.”
Jobs, along with Steve Wozniak and Ronald Wayne, founded Apple Computer in 1976, and oversaw the development of both the Apple II and Macintosh computers before leaving the company in 1985. While away from Apple, Jobs started his own computer company—NeXT Computer—which would later be purchased by Apple—and purchased The Graphics Group from Lucasfilm’s computer graphics division in 1986. The Graphics Group would later be renamed Pixar, and would go on to produce a string of award-winning computer-animated feature films. Pixar was acquired by Disney in 2006, making Jobs the largest single shareholder in The Walt Disney Company.
Jobs returned to Apple in 1996 as part of the company’s purchase of NeXT and became interim CEO in 1997, dropping the interim title in 2000. During his second stint at Apple, Jobs brought the company back from a dire financial position with a string of hit products including the iMac, iBook, iPod, iPhone, and iPad; the company became the world’s most valuable prior to Jobs stepping down from his role as CEO on August 24.
Updated: Apple CEO Tim Cook has announced in a Media Advisory that the company is “planning a celebration of Steve’s extraordinary life for Apple employees that will take place soon. If you would like to share your thoughts, memories and condolences in the interim, you can simply email [email protected]”