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More than a decade after his death, Apple co-founder Steve Jobs continues to influence the world. AppleInsider explores what the man himself thought about life and death, and how an online archive memorializes him and his work.
Every year since Jobs' death, Apple marks the anniversary with memorials, including turning its home page into a memorial. In 2021, the home page featured a personal message from Jobs' widow Laurene Powell Jobs and a three-minute video about the man.
In 2023, Tim Cook tweeted memories of the man.
Ahead of the 11th anniversary of his death in 2022, Cook joined the conversation, Powell Jobs joined and Jony Ive. about him on stage.
During the Code22 panel discussion with Kara Swisher, Powell Jobs also launched an online archive of Steve Jobs.
The archive, intended to be a growing tribute and, in particular, a growing inspiration that would later include a book, began with an email from Steve Jobs — to himself. Jobs reportedly emailed himself notes and thoughts often, but this one was an acknowledgment of how dependent he and the rest of us are on each other.
“I love and admire members of my species, living and dead, and my life and well-being depend entirely on them,” he says at the end of his email. “Sent from my iPad.”
Death of Jobs in 2011
Apple co-founder Steve Jobs died around 3:00 p.m. Pacific Time, Wednesday, October 5, 2011. He was at his home in Palo Alto. The Santa Clara County Department of Public Health recorded the immediate cause of death as respiratory arrest, but the underlying cause was “metastatic neuroendocrine tumor of the pancreas.”
Later that day, his wife Laurene Powell Jobs issued a statement.
Steve passed away peacefully today surrounded by his family.
In public life, Steve was known as a visionary; in his personal life he valued his family. We are grateful to the many people who shared their wishes and prayers during Steve's final year of illness; A website will be provided for those wishing to pay their respects and memories.
We are grateful for the support and kindness of those who share our feelings for Steve. We know that many of you will be grieving with us, and we ask that you respect our privacy as we grieve.
Jobs was 56 years old and has since been treated for this rare form of pancreatic cancer. he was 49 years old. Consequently, he took care of his health when giving the commencement address at Stanford University in 2005. He decided to talk about mortality.
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He had already undergone successful surgery to remove the tumor, but in 2009 he took an extended leave from Apple to undergo further treatment. He received a liver transplant and thanked his donor at an Apple event in September 2009.
“I now have the liver of a man in his 20s who died in a car accident and was generous enough to donate his organs,” Jobs said. “I am alive because of their generosity.”
We now know that Jobs turned down Tim Cook's offer of a liver transplant, but in the same speech he thanked Cook and others for “rising to the occasion.”
Cook would take over again while Jobs went on another medical leave in January 2011.
Jobs' last public appearance took place on June 7, 2011, when he represented Apple at a Cupertino district meeting. where he spoke about plans to build Apple Park.
Less than three months later, on August 24, 2011, Jobs officially stepped down as Apple's CEO. On his last day, he reportedly chaired a board meeting, tried to trick a preview version of Siri with questions, and then drove home with Apple lawyer George Riley.
That evening he told biographer Walter Isaacson: “I have had a very successful career, a very successful life. I did everything I could”.
The day he died
The managing editor of AppleInsider at the time was Neil Hughes. That day, he wrote Steve Jobs' obituary for the site.
“I was at the gym and I received several calls. The news came out late and I rushed home to tell about it. For me it was a story – I wasn’t particularly emotional at that moment. I was just in work mode, covering it the way it needed to be covered,” he said. “From a news standpoint, I kind of knew it was coming, but it was still unexpected. You just assume that the guy will live forever.”
Journalists regularly write obituaries, and you do not express your personal reaction in these materials. However, after the work is completed, everything changes.
“I didn’t realize I had a ‘relationship’ with Steve until later,” Hughes said. “There was a lawsuit involving emails between Eddie Cue and Steve. Something about iBooks. And Steve read one of my stories and actually learned something about his company from it. The truth is that Apple has always been paying attention, including Steve.”
Author Bob Levitus, who Steve Jobs sometimes quoted on slides in keynote presentations, now says that while his death was expected, she was upset. “I was very sad when he died. It was like the end of an era,” he recalls.
“He was one of those generational guys,” Levitus says. “He was great. Apple will never be the same after Steve. I think Tim Cook is trying very hard to keep the spirit of Apple the way Steve would want it to be. [However] as a company gets bigger and bigger, it becomes harder and harder to stay committed to doing everything perfectly.”
“I don’t know what’s next, but I’m not sure Apple will get there without Steve,” Levitus continues. “Maybe. There are so many smart people at Apple that I'm sure something good will come out of this, but Steve was the one who said, let's create an MP3 player for real people who aren't geeks. And let's create a phone that is actually smart.”
When Jobs' death became known, people started talking about him friends, colleagues and former rivals. Microsoft founder Bill Gates said: “The world rarely sees someone who has had such a profound impact as Steve, the effects of which will be felt for many generations to come. For those of us lucky enough to work with him, “Apple held a memorial service for Jobs on October 19, 2011. It was originally a private event for employees that was broadcast live only to Apple stores. Stores worldwide. About a week later, Apple posted the video publicly. The video is no longer on Apple's website, but there is a memorial page. You can read a selection of people's memories of Steve Jobs and share your own.
Apple continues support this page, and every year Tim Cook pays tribute to Jobs on the anniversary of his death with tweets like this one in 2020:
“A great soul never dies. It brings us together again and again.” — Maya Angelou. You are always with us, Steve, your memory unites and inspires us every day. pic.twitter.com/X85bjObkPK
— Tim Cook (@tim_cook) October 5 2020
In an article written in 2021, former Apple chief designer Jony Ive says it was a “brutal, heartbreaking day” when Jobs died.
“After his death, I went out into the garden,” Ive wrote. I remember the sound of the wooden door latch as I carefully closed it. In the garden I sat and thought how conversations often interfere with listening and thinking.”
“Perhaps that's why we spent so much time together,” he continued. “I miss Desperate Steve and I will always miss talking to him.”