When it comes to reporting on the health of a CEO, it's shaky territory, but once it hits the wires, it must be done.
Apple CEO Steve Jobs is considering a liver transplant as a result of complications after treatment for pancreatic cancer in 2004, according to people who are monitoring his illness, via the Bloomberg wire.
Jobs, who recently appeared gaunt and frail, hasn't provided details about his condition. In his statement on Jan. 5, Jobs said he was suffering from a "hormone imbalance" and that the remedy for his weight loss was "relatively simple." Then the 53-year-old announced on Jan. 14 that he was taking a five-month medical leave because his health issues were "more complex" than he originally thought.
In a telephone interview today with Bloomberg, Jobs said he won’t comment further on his health.
"Why don’t you guys leave me alone -- why is this important?" Jobs said.
Apple spokesman Steve Dowling declined to comment. The company’s board members -- including Intuit Inc. Chairman Bill Campbell, former U.S. Vice President Al Gore and Google Inc. CEO Eric Schmidt -- either couldn’t be reached or declined to comment.
Apple has held that the matter is private, but as CEO and head innovator/inspiration at Apple, it means a lot for shareholders -- so much so that tech journalists covering the saga over the last few months have opened their own discourse as to how much they're willing to be jerked around by the company's formidable public relations department.
Apple shares fell $1.05 to $82.33 at 4 p.m. New York time today in Nasdaq Stock Market trading.
Jobs said in 2004 that he underwent surgery to remove a neuroendocrine islet cell tumor, a rare, slow-growing type of cancer that affects as many as 3,000 people in the U.S. per year. Neuroendocrine tumors that originate in the pancreas, as Jobs's did, often spread to the liver, according to the Bloomberg article.