Political and industry leaders mourn Steve Jobs

Messages of support, condolences and sadness have been pouring out following the death of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs
Written by Ben Woods, Contributor

The death of Steve Jobs has prompted an outpouring of goodwill from industry and political figureheads ranging from rival companies to President Obama.

Steve Jobs

Politicians, friends and industry leaders have paid tribute to Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, who died on Wednesday. Photo credit: James Martin/CNET News

The Apple co-founder and chairman, one of the most influential figures in the technology world, died on Wednesday. He had suffered a range of health problems starting in 2004 with a rare form of pancreatic cancer, followed by a liver transplant in 2009 after taking a leave of absence for unspecified health problems. He stepped down as chief executive permanently in August. The cause of death has not been revealed. 

Within minutes of the announcement, social media and news channels began carrying a flood of condolences, most typically describing Jobs as a "visionary" and his work and dedication to Apple and its products as "legendary".

"Steve was fond of saying that he lived every day like it was his last. Because he did, he transformed our lives, redefined entire industries, and achieved one of the rarest feats in human history: he changed the way each of us sees the world," US President Barack Obama said in a statement.

The sentiment was echoed by Prime Minister David Cameron, who, according to the BBC News Twitter stream, said "the world has lost 'one of the most inventive, creative, entrepreneurial geniuses' in Steve Jobs".

Wozniak pays tribute

Recently appointed chief executive Tim Cook expressed gratitude for the opportunity to work with Jobs and sadness at his death. However, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak told a more personal tale of how Jobs's quick mind and business acumen drove the company forward, to the success it is today.

"Almost all the time we had discussions about how something should be done in a company, he was almost always right," Wozniak told the BBC. "[With products] the little details mattered, the tiny little nuances between one product and another made the huge difference."

Wozniak also praised Jobs's attention to users' needs and his legendary gift for marketing, telling of his ability to see a piece of new technology and understand the difference it could make to people in the real world.

"Psychology wise, he related so well to the users, the buyers of products, so marketing, I would say, was his greatest strength," he added.

Rivals and admirers

Google co-founder Larry Page echoed the sentiments of Obama and many others, and paid tribute to Jobs's ability to cut to the crux of any matter, as well as kindness extended to a competitor.

He changed the world. I knew him a little and admired him entirely. Love to Apple and his family.
– Stephen Fry

"He always seemed to be able to say in very few words what you actually should have been thinking before you thought it," Page said. He was very kind to reach out to me as I became CEO of Google and spend time offering his advice and knowledge even though he was not at all well."

Other industry leaders publicly issued more personal condolences, such as Facebook founder Mark Zuckerburg who said, "Steve, thank you for being a mentor and a friend. Thanks for showing that what you build can change the world. I will miss you", on his Facebook page.

Long-time Apple fan and general celebrity technology advocate Stephen Fry posted a similarly personal message to his followers on Twitter.

"He changed the world. I knew him a little and admired him entirely. Love to Apple and his family," Fry said on Twitter.

During a hiatus from working at Apple, Jobs purchased The Graphics Group, which later became known as Pixar Studios, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Walt Disney Company.

"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," Robert Iger, chief executive of Walt Disney, said in a statement.

Apple chief executive, Cook, added that "we will honour his memory by dedicating ourselves to continuing the work he loved so much".

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