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Steve Jobs on illness, and death!

Last updated on: January 18, 2011 15:58 IST

Steve Jobs on illness, and death!

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What is it that ailing 56-year-old Apple CEO Steve Jobs? The question is uppermost in the minds of Apple employees, investors and market analysts.

Jobs is again unwell and has taken 'medical leave' to deal with the problem.

He sent an email to all Apple employees saying that he would be proceeding on a medical leave:

Team,

At my request, the board of directors has granted me a medical leave of absence so I can focus on my health. I will continue as CEO and be involved in major strategic decisions for the company.

I have asked Tim Cook to be responsible for all of Apple's day to day operations. I have great confidence that Tim and the rest of the executive management team will do a terrific job executing the exciting plans we have in place for 2011.

I love Apple so much and hope to be back as soon as I can. In the meantime, my family and I would deeply appreciate respect for our privacy.

Steve

Jobs, as his photographs show, has kept on looking weaker and frailer over the years. But every time he bounces back from a leave, he seems to do so with a bang. Perhaps, he will do the same again, although the seeming secrecy over his condition has set the rumour mills abuzz.

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Image: Apple Inc CEO Steve Jobs takes the stage beneath a sign that makes light of reports on his health at Apple's 'Let's Rock' media event in San Francisco, California September 9, 2008.
Photographs: Robert Galbraith / Reuters
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Steve Jobs on illness, and death!

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The Apple CEO had had surgery for pancreatic cancer in 2004 and appeared to have beaten the disease. But his ill health has been a matter of major discussion for long.

Then in April 2009, he underwent a liver transplant, but returned to work with a bang. But again he has taken ill, causing intense speculation in technology and business circles about a possible recurrence of his cancer or a progression of the disease and affecting the stock price of Apple shares adversely.

The last time Jobs took medical leave was in January 2009 and that was for a liver transplant. This time, however, no details have been shared by Apple, leading to a lot of uncertainty which Wall Street strictly dislikes. Result: A slip in share price, even though it remains at over $348 a share.

Image: Apple CEO Steve Jobs is shown in this combination photo of file photographs dating (top row L to R) July 2000, November 2003, September 2005, (bottom L to R) September 2006, January 2007 and September 2008.

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Photographs: Reuters
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Steve Jobs on illness, and death!

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His trusted lieutenant Apple chief operating officer Tim Cook will take over day-to-day operations at the company. Jobs however does try to impart some confidence stating that he hopes to be back as soon as he can and even during his absence he would be involved in all strategic decisions of the company.

Timeline of Jobs' illness:

October 2003: Jobs is diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

August 1, 2004: Jobs, then 49, disclosed that he had a successful surgery to remove the malignant tumour.

June 9, 2008: Jobs, while introducing the iPhone 3G at Apple's developers' conference, appeared thinner and frail.

July 26, 2008: New York Times columnist Joe Nocera wrote that he spoke on the phone with Jobs, who said his health problems weren't life-threatening.

September 9, 2008: Jobs joked about news of his death while introducing new iPod media players at an event in San Francisco.

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Image: Steve Jobs in a January 1997 file photo.
Photographs: Reuters
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Steve Jobs on illness, and death!

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December 16, 2008: Apple says that Jobs won't be giving his usual speech at the Macworld conference, renewing concerns about his health.

January 5, 2009: Jobs says he is suffering from a hormone imbalance, causing him to lose weight.

January 14, 2009: Jobs gives up day-to-day operations to Cook until June, saying his health problems are more complex than originally thought. "I look forward to seeing all of you this summer," he said in a letter to employees.

Steve Jobs is a phenomenon, to say the least. He runs the world's most-valued technology company but when it comes to pay, Apple's iconic chief Steve Jobs has been taking home a salary of just $1 at least for the past three years.

Jobs, who rejoined Apple in 1997, is the brain behind many best-selling gadgets such as iPhone, iPad and iPods.

Interestingly, his compensation comes as a sharp contrast to many CEOs worldwide, who get huge pay packets -- an issue which was also blamed for the financial meltdown in 2008-09.

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Image: Steve Jobs at the 82nd Academy Awards in Hollywood, March 7, 2010.
Photographs: Reuters
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Steve Jobs on illness, and death!

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Jobs also owns 5.5 million of the company's common stock. Apple is considered the second most-valued company in terms of market capitalisation. The company, listed on the Nasdaq, had a market value of over $321 billion on January 17, 2011.

Apple's chief operating officer Timothy Cook -- widely considered as the successor to Jobs -- received a compensation of $59 million. This includes a bonus of $5 million and stock awards worth $52.3 million.

Steve Jobs on death . . .

During his Commencement address at Stanford University on June 12, 2005, Steve Jobs spoke about death, the highs and lows of life, and how to counter challenges. Here's a telling excerpt:

"When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: "If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you'll most certainly be right."

"It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: "If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?"

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Image: Steve Jobs stands under a photo of him and Apple-co founder Steve Wozniak, January 27, 2010.
Photographs: Reuters
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Steve Jobs on illness, and death!

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"And whenever the answer has been "No" for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.

"Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life.

"Because almost everything -- all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure -- these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important.

"Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose.

"You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.

"About a year ago I was diagnosed with cancer. I had a scan at 7:30 in the morning, and it clearly showed a tumour on my pancreas.

"I didn't even know what a pancreas was. The doctors told me this was almost certainly a type of cancer that is incurable, and that I should expect to live no longer than three to six months.

"My doctor advised me to go home and get my affairs in order, which is doctor's code for prepare to die.

"It means to try to tell your kids everything you thought you'd have the next 10 years to tell them in just a few months.

"It means to make sure everything is buttoned up so that it will be as easy as possible for  your family. It means to say your goodbyes.

"I lived with that diagnosis all day.

"Later that evening I had a biopsy, where they stuck an endoscope down my throat, through my stomach and into my intestines, put a needle into my pancreas and got a few cells from the tumour.

"I was sedated, but my wife, who was there, told me that when they viewed the cells under a microscope the doctors started crying because it turned out to be a very rare form of pancreatic cancer that is curable with surgery.

"I had the surgery and I'm fine now.

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Image: Steve Jobs talks during a presentation in November, 1999.
Photographs: Reuters
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"This was the closest I've been to facing death, and I hope it's the closest I get for a few more decades.

"Having lived through it, I can now say this to you with a bit more certainty than when death was a useful but purely intellectual concept:

"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."


Image: Steve Jobs smiles at the grand opening of the new Apple Store on 5th Avenue in New York, May 2006.
Photographs: Reuters
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