Millions Mourn Death of Apple Co-Founder Steve Jobs

Posted October 6th, 2011 at 8:30 pm (UTC-5)
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Apple stores around the world have become impromptu shrines to the company's co-founder Steve Jobs, who died Wednesday at the age of 56.

People left flowers and candles at the stores Thursday as millions mourned the death of the innovative leader, who developed electronic gadgets that transformed the global music, mobile phone, and computing industries.

Apple said late Wednesday it has lost a “visionary and creative genius,” and that the world has lost an “amazing human being.”

Jobs had suffered from a rare form of pancreatic cancer since 2003, and underwent a liver transplant in 2009. He resigned as CEO of Apple in August, saying he could no longer meet his duties as the technology giant's top executive.

Jobs' family said he died peacefully, surrounded by loved ones at his home in Palo Alto, California.

The news of Jobs' death reached far around the world and up to the International Space Station, where commander Mike Fossum called him a rare person who had the “energy, skill and genius” to make things happen.

Business competitors, colleagues, political leaders and fans also paid him tribute.

Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak told CNN that Jobs was a “great visionary and leader.” Wozniak said Jobs believed in technology as the future.

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Jobs was a “truly global force” and “unlike any other.” U.S. President Barack Obama called him one of America's “greatest innovators.” Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg thanked Jobs for showing that what he built can “change the world.”

Former U.S. President Bill Clinton said Jobs' passion for his work and his courage in fighting his cancer were an inspiration.

A college dropout, Jobs developed the first Apple computer in 1976 in his garage in California's Silicon Valley, working with Wozniak, his friend.

The two went on to found the Apple computer company. Jobs left Apple in 1985 following a dispute with the company's other top executives, but returned in 1997 when 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. The company's fortunes were transformed again when it shifted its focus away from personal computer manufacturing to producing handheld products like iPhones, iPads and iPods. It is now one of the world's most valuable companies.

Many websites were transformed into online memorials for Jobs Wednesday night, including Apple's own home page. On the social networking site, Twitter, “iSad” was a topic.

Jobs' death is also being felt strongly in Asia, where the products he pioneered are largely made and immensely popular.

Millions of messages mourning Jobs appeared Thursday on microblog sites in China, where members of the world's largest online community routinely line up for days to purchase each new Apple product.

And Microsoft, Google, Sony and Samsung, all technology competitors of Apple, offered homage.

Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates, Jobs' long-time rival and former business partner, said Wednesday Jobs' impact on the world of technology will be felt “for many generations to come.” Gates was an early supporter of Macintosh computers and said working with Jobs was “an insanely great honor.”

Samsung praised Jobs' “innovative spirit,” calling him a “great entrepreneur.” The two technology giants have been locked in a series of patent lawsuits since April, when Apple took legal action against Samsung for allegedly copying technology used in iPhones and iPads to create its own line of smartphones and tablet computers.

Recently appointed Apple CEO Tim Cook, who took over when Jobs stepped down in August, said Jobs' spirit will “forever be the foundation of Apple.”

A memorial message on Apple's website says that fans can share their memories of Jobs by sending an e-mail to the organization at