Steve Jobs has died. He was 56. The Apple founder, CEO and chairman passed away yesterday. 

Apple's board of directors released a statement which 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."

See also: Steve Jobs: obituary

In 2004 Jobs had surgery to treat a rare form of pancreatic cancer. He returned to work, but took six months off to treat a "hormone imbalance" in 2009. During that leave Jobs had a liver transplant. 

Early this year Jobs took another, indefinite leave of absence to "focus on my health," as he put it, and on August 24 he announced his resignation as CEO, with Chief Operating Officer Tim Cook taking over and Jobs elected board chairman, a position he held until his death.

Jobs is survived by his wife, Laurene, and four children.

Steve Jobs: history

Steve Jobs co-founded Apple in 1976, alongside technical whizz Steve Wozniak and pal Ronald Wayne. Woz designed the Apple I and Apple II computers but had little management responsibility and effectively left the company in 1987. Wayne left Apple after just two weeks, nervous that should the company fail he could not face being responsible for the debts.

Jobs was the key figure in the early success of Apple but sought older managerial counsel in 1983, appointing former Pepsi chief John Sculley as CEO. Two years later Jobs was forced to quit the company following a power struggle with Sculley, but not before he’d launched the innovatory Macintosh computer in 1984.

Jobs almost immediately founded NeXT Computer, which struggled but was eventually bought in 1996 by Apple for $429 million for its NeXTStep operating system that Apple used as the basis of its next-generation Mac OS X. While away from Apple Jobs also purchased Pixar, turning the small computer graphics company into the biggest movie animation studio – eventually selling the company to Disney for $7.4 billion in 2006.

On his return Jobs swiftly replaced Apple CEO Gil Amelio, becoming interim chief executive (or iCEO) in September 1997.
Since then, through the release of innovatory products such as the iMac, iPod, iPhone and iPad, Jobs has turned the company round from the brink of disaster to overtaking Microsoft in market capitalization and amassing $76.4 billion in financial reserves.