Apple co-founder and former chief executive Steve Jobs has died. Jobs was 56 years old and had been battling cancer for nearly a decade.
The technology company issued a statement on its website late Wednesday, saying the company has lost a visionary and creative genius, and that the world has lost an amazing human being.
The company statement also said his spirit will forever be the foundation of Apple.
U.S. President Barack Obama expressed condolences in a written statement, saying Jobs was among the greatest of American innovators.
Mr. Obama said Jobs “redefined entire industries,” made the Internet “not only accessible, but intuitive and fun,” and achieved what he called one of history’s “rarest feats,” of changing how we see the world.
Jobs resigned as chief executive of the technology giant in August. He had battled pancreatic cancer since 2003, and underwent a liver transplant in 2009.
In a written statement, Jobs’ family said he died peacefully Wednesday, surrounded by his loved ones.
Jobs – a college dropout – was born February 24, 1955. He grew up in a part of California that later became known as Silicon Valley, a center of the U.S. technology industry.
In 1974, Jobs left his position as a technician with a video game maker and traveled to India to find spiritual enlightenment. When he returned, he and friend Steve Wozniak began work in Jobs’ garage, developing the first Apple computer.
The two founded the Apple computer company. At one point in his career, Jobs left Apple following a dispute with the company’s other top executives. He returned in 1997, after the company had come to the edge of collapse. Under Jobs’ renewed leadership, Apple reinvented itself, introducing a new line of computers known as the iMacs.
Apples fortunes were transformed again when it shifted its focus away from personal computer manufacturer to producing handheld products like the iPhones, iPads and iPods. It is now one of the world’s most valuable companies.
Jobs’ death comes one day after Apple unveiled a highly anticipated new iPhone – this one with the ability to respond to spoken commands. The device is equipped with a higher-quality camera and the ability to synchronize information among different Apple devices, updating them all at once.