Steve Jobs Dead at 56

Steve Jobs 1955-2011. Steven Paul Jobs, founder and chairman of Apple has died following a long battle against pancreatic cancer.

It was known that it would have to happen some time and it was obvious to anybody just by looking at him in past announcements that Steve Jobs was desperately ill. But even still, the suddenness of his passing has seemingly put the technology world and Apple followers in a state of shock.

Apple have released the following statement:

"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."

They have also updated the front page of the Apple website with a simple tribute.

Jobs' death comes just one day after the company announced the new incarnation of the iPhone, the iPhone 4S, where the presence of an empty seat marked reserved was noticed by many. It also comes less than two months after Jobs officially passed the reigns over to Tim Cook.

Following Jobs' death there has been a veritable flurry of statements coming in from across the world, including US President Barak Obama and long time business rival Bill Gates.

Steve Jobs' family

Steve died peacefully today surrounded by his family. 
In his public life, Steve was known as a visionary; in his private life, he cherished his family. We are thankful to the many people who have shared their wishes and prayers during the last year of Steve's illness; a website will be provided for those who wish to offer tributes and memories. 
We are grateful for the support and kindness of those who share our feelings for Steve. We know many of you will mourn with us, and we ask that you respect our privacy during our time of grief.
Tim Cook 
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. 
We are planning a celebration of Steve’s extraordinary life for Apple employees that will take place soon. If you would like to share your thoughts, memories and condolences in the interim, you can simply
No words can adequately express our sadness at Steve’s death or our gratitude for the opportunity to work with him. We will honor his memory by dedicating ourselves to continuing the work he loved so much. 
Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Laurene and his children during this difficult time.
Bill Gates 
I’m truly saddened to learn of Steve Jobs’ death. Melinda and I extend our sincere condolences to his family and friends, and to everyone Steve has touched through his work. 
Steve and I first met nearly 30 years ago, and have been colleagues, competitors and friends over the course of more than half our lives. 
The world rarely sees someone who has had the profound impact Steve has had, the effects of which will be felt for many generations to come. 
For those of us lucky enough to get to work with him, it’s been an insanely great honor. I will miss Steve immensely.
Disney President Bob Iger
Steve Jobs was a great friend as well as a trusted advisor. His legacy will extend far beyond the products he created or the businesses he built. It will be the millions of people he inspired, the lives he changed, and the culture he defined. Steve was such an "original," with a thoroughly creative, imaginative mind that defined an era. Despite all he accomplished, it feels like he was just getting started. With his passing the world has lost a rare original, Disney has lost a member of our family, and I have lost a great friend. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Laurene and his children during this difficult time.
Google Chairman Eric SchmidtEric Schmidt
Steve Jobs is the most successful CEO in the U.S. of the last 25 years. He uniquely combined an artists touch and an engineers vision to build an extraordinary company... one of the greatest American leaders in history.
California Governor Edmund Brown
Steve Jobs was a great California innovator who demonstrated what a totally independent and creative mind can accomplish. Few people have made such a powerful and elegant imprint on our lives. Anne and I wish to express our deepest sympathy to Steve's wife, Laurene, and their entire family.
John Gruber
So it goes. So it goes. 
Damn it. I thought the “That day has come” line in his resignation letter implied the end was near, but, truth be told, I never gave up hope that Steve would beat this again. What a life. 

But perhaps the best view on the situation should come from the man himself, speaking during the Stanford Commencement Speech in 2005 he expressed his feelings on life and death:

"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."
Jobs had been experiencing difficulties with his health after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2003, at first he kept the illness secret from all outside his inner circle and tried to tackle the cancer using non-invasive changes to his lifestyle, such as adapting his diet. However, in 2004 he underwent surgery to have the tumour removed. At first this seemed to work and his health and overall appearance improved, over time however he started to appear weaker and eventually needed a liver transplant in 2009. Since then his involvement at Apple had been one of taking regular sick leave, normally over the course of six months at a time.
While his death comes at a relatively early age his life story reads like a something from a Charles Dickens novel. An infant adopted by loving parents, a college dropout, an entrepreneur, inventor and successful businessman ousted from his own company only to come back and save it from the brink of bankruptcy - Steve Jobs did it all.
Over the last few years Jobs began to communicate with the outside world, personally answering customer emails - normally from his iPhone and typically with one or two word replies. He also started to be more open to charities and was a central figure in the founding of the US's first organ donor registry in 2010.
Perhaps the most pertinent words that can be used to describe Jobs are the ones used in Apple's  famous Think Different advertising campaign:
Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.
Steve Jobs leaves behind in Apple a company that by using the methods of thinking and the innovations that he helped bring to the stage should now withstand the foreseeable future. He doesn't only leave behind a company of course, but also a family.