Steve Jobs, the innovative co-founder of Apple who transformed personal use of technology as well as entire industries with products such as the iPod, iPad, iPhone, Macintosh computer and the iTunes Store, died Oct. 5.
The Apple chairman was 56.
The iconic American CEO, whose impact many have compared to auto magnate Henry Ford and Walt Disney -- whom Jobs openly admired -- abruptly stepped down from his position as CEO of Apple in August because of health concerns. He had been suffering from pancreatic cancer and underwent a liver transplant in 2009, although Apple, in announcing his death, did not list a cause.
"Apple has lost a visionary and creative genius, and the world has lost an amazing human being," the company said on its website. "His spirit will forever be the foundation of Apple."
Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, regarded as Jobs' foil in the early years of personal computing, said he was saddened: "The world rarely sees someone who has had the profound impact Steve has had, the effects of which will be felt for many generations."
Although Jobs had stepped aside from running Apple, his death raises questions about the company's ability to continue to amaze consumers with new, must-have products that have helped to define a generation.
Google Chairman Eric Schmidt, a former Apple board member, called Jobs the best CEO of the past 50 years -- perhaps 100 years.
Jobs' success flowed from a relentless focus on making products that were easy and intuitive to use. His products were characterized by groundbreaking design and style that, along with their technological usefulness, made them objects of intense desire by consumers worldwide.
He was known as a demanding, mercurial boss and an almost mystical figure. Jobs' work at Apple and other projects made him a fortune estimated by Forbes magazine in 2011 at $7 billion.
His creation of iTunes as an online way to purchase music digitally helped transform the music industry and delivered a blow to the standard industry practice of packaging music in albums or CDs.
Jobs dropped out of college to build computers with high school friend Steve Wozniak, creating what became the Apple I computer in 1976. As sales lagged, Jobs was ousted from the company's leadership in a 1985 boardroom coup. He returned in 1996 after Apple bought his technology start-up, NeXT, for $400 million. Within months, Jobs took over as CEO and led a major corporate turnaround.
Five years later, with the release of the iPod personal digital music player, Apple had become the leading consumer electronics giant worldwide. Jobs is listed as an inventor or co-inventor on 313 Apple patents.
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