Steve Jobs Is Dead at 56

1955-2011

Steve Jobs, co-founder and former CEO of Apple and technological entrepreneur, died on Wednesday October 5 at age 56, after a battle with pancreatic cancer and other health issues. He will be missed all over the world.

Apple released a brief statement:

“Apple has lost a visionary and creative genius, 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.”

Apple also invited readers to share their thoughts, memories, and condolences by emailing rememberingsteve@apple.com. Another statement from Apple’s Board of Directors reads:

“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.”

Steve Jobs started Apple with Stephen Wozniak in 1976 in a garage in California. He left, and founded NeXT computer, which was later bought by Apple. He founded Pixar. He went back to Apple in 1997. He oversaw the iPod, the iMac, OSX, iTunes, the iPhone, and the iPad. In 2011, Apple is the most valuable company  in the world. In 1984, at the release of the first Macintosh computer, there would have been no way to predict the success that Apple would become. Though a five-minute standing ovation was certainly on the right track.

He received the National Medal of Technology from Ronald Regan in 1984, was named Fortune Magazine’s CEO of the decade in 2009, and is listed on more than 300 patents.

In 2004, he had surgery for pancreatic cancer. In 2009, he received a liver transplant. In 2004, January 2009, and January 2011, he took three medical leaves of absence, but only stepped down as CEO this past August, leaving Tim Cook in charge.

He is renowned in the worlds of technology, business, and awesome presentations involving black turtlenecks (I am not being flippant. Apple has a fantastic marketing strategy, and Jobs was very much a part of it). He will be missed: by the legions of Apple fans who never even met him; by the journalists who loved to obsess over his product releases and every move; and by his family.

At a 2005 commencement ceremony at Stanford, Jobs said,

“Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life.

Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure — these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important.

Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.”

His speech ended with: “Stay hungry. Stay foolish.”

There is, of course, coverage around the interwebs:

+ The New York Times has a very detailed obituary.

+ Gizmodo, which has a self-described “at best, tumultuous” relationship with Jobs and Apple, has a surprisingly touching tribute:

“He was not a god. He was simply a man.

Yet for all his faults, he changed the world. He made it better.

He once famously asked of a critic “what have you done that’s so great?” For Jobs, the answer to that question was very nearly unlimited.

Our world will be less interesting, less exciting, and less meaningful without him.

Goodbye, Mr. Jobs. We will miss you so very much.”

+ Gizmodo also has a tribute video.

+ BoingBoing’s layout currently emulates the early Apple user environment.

+ GOOD talks about how Steve Jobs pushed people to think differently.

Are you reading this on a Mac? How are you feeling?


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Ryan Yates

Ryan Yates was the NSFW Editor (2013–2018) and Literary Editor for Autostraddle.com, with bylines in Nylon, Refinery29, The Toast, Bitch, The Daily Beast, Jezebel, and elsewhere. They live in Los Angeles and also on twitter and instagram.

Ryan has written 1142 articles for us.

32 Comments

  1. I am having a lot of issues with this. However, I understand that he was a great man, who had a great life, which was a blessing to all of us, and, I think, to himself most of all, as a man who did what he loved, but was able to embrace his humanity, and that can be a comfort to us all.

    I learned computing on a Macintosh in 1994. I am typing this on a MacBook.

  2. “No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true.

    Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”

    i am writing this comment from a mac, listening to my friend’s itunes on her mac, and my iphone will wake me up tomorrow morning.

    • Yes, pancreatic cancer and other health issues have been in the news for years and years now. He’s been on medical leave from Apple since January of this year, I believe, but he officially stepped down in August.

      One of the theories as to why Apple’s stocks didn’t fall too much (~5%, not an insignificant amount, but still small compared to what some predicted), as they would usually if the face of a company resigned, is because his illnesses have been so widely publicized for such a long period of time.

  3. I am not a mac/iphone user, but you cannot deny the MASSIVE impact that Apple had on the design of modern technology. The guy was able to see things that other people in his industry couldn’t imagine, and he wasn’t afraid to go ahead and make mistakes on the way to making some fantastically ground-breaking changes – making him a true inventor and a true innovator.

    • It’s related — Apple seems to be one of the most gay friendly workplaces out there. Creating a culture of acceptance for those who may feel like they don’t always fit in in society is a huge contribution Steve Jobs and Apple have made to both gays and otherwise.

      • not to mention the apple logo is said to come from the poison apple that alan turing ate when he committed suicide.

        alan turing was a genius. he was english, he built the very first computer, and he helped the allies crack the german enigma code during world war ii. he was also gay, and the british government forced him to undergo electric shock therapy and take hormones in an effort to make him straight.

        for his entire life, he adored disney movies, particularly snow white and the seven dwarves. when it all got to be too much for him, he dipped an apple in cyanide, took a bite, and killed himself.

        when apple designed their logo, they chose an apple with a bite out of it, in honor of alan turing.

        • I’m not trying to undermine what you’ve said but I’m 90% certain Apple’s current logo is a reiteration of their previous logo which was actually related to Isaac Newton and the whole apple tree thing, not Alan Turing’s supposed poisoned apple.

          • “I mean you can find a gay connection in anything.”

            Exactly because EVERYONE/EVERYTHING IS GAY!

      • so the lovely daughter of fred phelps used twitter for iPhone to ‘spread the hate’….I don’t even know what to say

        I really like the ‘ I am reading/writing this on my *insert apple item*” comments!

        I am writing this on my MacBook Pro.

    • we report on non-LGBT-related news all the time. We have an entire tech section about cell phones, computers and video games that usually has nothing to do with sexuality. And I mean, that’s just one section. We talk about things that we think LGBT people want to talk about with other LGBT people, even if those things aren’t LGBT-related.

  4. Steve revolutionized computing as we know of it today. I found my calling thanks to Apple in many ways. I worked at a retail store after college meeting some of the best people I have ever known, believing in a vision of the best customer service that I could possibly bring, learning and growing, helping people embrace technology. While the end of my time at apple wasn’t the best there is no denying I still feel strongly about the company and the excellent products they produce. I support macs as my job. I am writing this from work on a mac, the computer in my bag is a mac and my IPhone is in my pocket.
    Thanks, Steve.

  5. goddamn this happening during my PMS. I can’t watch any of his speeches right now, I can’t even ~handle it.

    I’ve always admired him for not just his contribution to the world, but what he’s done to inspire others to follow in his footsteps – whether it’s in the field of technology or something totally different. The clip that’s been playing on the radio all day of him saying, “don’t fall into the trap of thinking you have something to lose” – oh, oh man. Bravo. I think I might go quit my crappy dead-end job now.

  6. my first computer was a mac SE/30 in 1989. my dad worked at umich and so we got new macs the moment they came out, which was really exciting. by the time my dad died in 1995, we had a Mac Centris, which was the first computer I’d ever had with color. I inherited my Dad’s mac laptop which weighed about 5,000 pounds. The first laptop I ever got for myself — it was my graduation present for graduating high school — was a Mac G3, which was a big deal at the time because it only weighed like 8 pounds, as opposed to other computers which despite being laptops you couldn’t really take with you because they were so heavy.

    I’ve always been a Mac person because that’s what the university gave us. When I started at Umich, they had the big tellitubbie computers that nobody uses anymore. Then like everyone else I did the ibook, powerbook, macbook, etc., and I have a MacBook Pro now.

    basically i think i got born around the same time that computers got born, like computers have progressed along with me, we’ve grown up together.

    For some reason i feel like god died and it makes me nervous.

  7. My laptop (a used Powerbook G4 that I bought on Craigslist 2 years ago) crashed three weeks ago and now won’t turn on. It seems oddly fitting that that laptop stopped working shortly before Jobs’ death. I am reading this on an iPad.

  8. I really can’t say I’ve ever been a fan of Apple products. I think they design their products to milk every last penny from the consumer even while they overpay for style anyway. I find PCs and Android to be far superior.

    HOWEVER, there is absolutely no denying the enormous impact Apple and Jobs have had on our lives as we know it. The iPod changed the way people listen to music with library large capacity and shuffle feature. The advent of the iTunes store finally brought music online legitimately during that awkward period where the only music that existed online was pirated. It changed the way people get software applications with the idea of an app store. And it made physical design a relevant feature for products designed to deliver electronic content. They say Apple found ways to make us realize we need stuff we never knew we wanted. (I still think the iPad is an utterly useless waste, but it appears to be a consistent truth of the modern era of Apple.)

    I won’t ever buy a Mac or an iPhone, and that story about how Jobs lied to Woz when they first got together and swindled Woz seems to be this quintessential example of the type of man Steve Jobs was, but the company made an impact her his reign, no denying it. I don’t think he was a nice man — way to be an anti-philanthropy billionaire, dude — and I’m really uncomfortable with the outpouring reaction as if this man were a God or a nice person, but I won’t deny his status as a great innovator. It’s shame we won’t get to see what other ideas he would’ve come up with.

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