Apple CEO Steve Jobs Dies Young, Leaves Eternal Legacy

Posted by · October 6, 2011 12:41 pm

Chances are readers aren’t finding out from this post that legendary CEO Steve Jobs passed away yesterday at the tragically young age of 56. In a brief statement released last night, Apple was sad to announce that Jobs, who had been quietly battling a rare form of pancreatic cancer for several years, died Wednesday, leaving behind his wife, Laurene, and his family.

“Our hearts go out to them and to all who were touched by his extraordinary gifts,” the company board of directors said in its brief joint statement. “Steve’s brilliance, passion and energy were the source of countless innovations that enrich and improve all of our lives.”

Though the statement was not specific regarding the cause Jobs’ sudden passing, several publications are suggesting that his long-fought bout with pancreatic cancer is to blame.

However, rather than beleaguering the same details that most readers have likely already been given several times over by this point, I thought it might be more appropriate, not to mention awe-inspiring, to cover a few highlights that underscore the likelihood that Steve Jobs will be a legendary figure for generations to come.

Speaking to the incredible strides made by Jobs even after undergoing pancreatic tumor removal surgery, Ron Winslow of The Wall Street Journal Health Blog recounts four notable Apple successes that took place his watch. Despite the challenge of surgery recovery and health problems that led to a leave of absence and a liver transplant a few years later, Jobs remained the Apple CEO to oversee the broadening of the iPod product line, the introduction of the MacBook Air, the creation of the online app store, and the transformation of the “personal digital technology landscape” by introducing iPhone and the iPad.

“The high-tech visionary clearly never embraced a role as a cancer survivor and whether he’ll be seen as an inspiration in that regard remains to be seen,” suggested Winslow.

If the worldwide homage that has been paid to Jobs since the announcement of his death is any indication, referring to Jobs’ resilience an “inspiration” will likely turn out to be an understatement.

Echoing the part of Apple’s statement that suggested “[t]he world is immeasurably better because of Steve,” US President Barack Obama described Jobs as having “exemplified the spirit of American ingenuity.” The American President continued, “Steve was among the greatest of American innovators—brave enough to think differently, bold enough to believe he could change the world and talented enough to do it.”

Yet perhaps most impressive is the global scale on which people have been mourning Jobs’ passing.

Far more than the American innovator that President Obama depicted him to be, Steve Jobs’ influence transcended borders with his incredible creativity, iconic persona, and revolutionary approach to the consumer electronics industry. Though the effects of his genius were first felt in America, Steve Jobs sent a ripple effect across Europe and Asia as well. And today, citizens across these continents are taking some time to remember him for the “great visionary and leader” and “marketing genius” that Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak accurately portrayed Jobs to be.

As Voice of America notes, even Apple competitors like Microsoft, Google, Sony, and Sumsung, have taken time to recognize the enormous contributions that Steve Jobs made to the technology industry—contributions upon which much of their success as competitors with Apple has been built.  Bill Gates noted how his rival’s influence will be felt “for many generations to come” and, recalling his time as a business partner with Jobs, said working him was “an insanely great honor.”

Regardless of the way someone may feel about the Apple brand—whether they’re a Mac or a PC, an iPhone or an Android, an iPod or a Zune, an iPad or a Kindle Fire—everyone has to recognize that not only will Steve Jobs “forever be the foundation of Apple” as recently appointed Apple CEO Tim Cook suggested.

Steve Jobs will forever be the foundation of making complex technology useful to the everyday consumer.

Update (Oct. 10):

Reports on Monday are saying that Jobs passed away at home around 3 p.m. on October 5th from respiratory arrest, which is said to have been caused by a “metastatic pancreas neuroendocrine tumor”.