Apple Co-Founder Steve Jobs Passes Away At Age 56

By Colin Tan on October 5, 2011, 8:58PM EDT

It comes as sobering news to report that Apple co-founder and chairman Steve Jobs has passed away at the age of 56 after a long struggle with pancreatic cancer.

The sudden news comes this evening after Apple released a brief statement via Business Insider:

CUPERTINO, Calif."”(BUSINESS WIRE)"” We are deeply saddened to announce that Steve Jobs passed away today.

Steve's brilliance, passion and energy were the source of countless innovations that enrich and improve all of our lives. The world is immeasurably better because of Steve.

His greatest love was for his wife, Laurene, and his family. Our hearts go out to them and to all who were touched by his extraordinary gifts.

Easily one of the most influential and notable figures of the industry, Jobs turned the Apple brand into a cultural phenomenon with innovations like the iPod, and iTunes, forever changing the industry and ushering in the era of digital distribution. The Apple II Computer brought the world the gaming industry back in the 80s and was once again turned on its head with the release of the iPhone which popularized mobile gaming. Let's not forget that the Macintosh brand is still a relevant force in the creative industry.

Jobs influence spreads even further than the personal computer, playing an important role in keeping Pixar on its feet, bringing us films like Toy Story where he was credited as Executive Producer.

"Apple has lost a visionary and creative genius," reads the statement on the Apple website. "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."

Jobs had previously stepped down as CEO of Apple, recommending COO Tim Cook to take his place in the company. He was also absent at the announcement of the iPhone 4S earlier this week.

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