Apple co-founder and former CEO Steve Jobs died Wednesday after a private seven-year battle with serious health issues, the company confirmed this afternoon. He was 56 years old.
"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," reads a statement issued by Apple's board of directors.
"His greatest love was for his wife, Laurene, and his family. Our hearts go out to them and to all who were touched by his extraordinary gifts."
Jobs co-founded Apple in the 1970s and was instrumental in the design of the company's home computers. Among other accomplishments, Jobs was one of the pioneering visionaries behind the mouse-driven interface of the Macintosh operating system before his position was terminated in 1985 following a stressful sales slump, an event that Jobs later described as "freeing."
Video game history will also remember Jobs as one of the early employees at Atari, where he co-engineered the arcade game Breakout
, among others.
Jobs returned to Apple in 1996, and was appointed its CEO the following year, a role he maintained until his retirement this August.
Under Jobs' watch Apple has become a major force in the video game industry, with the company's iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch becoming the de facto mobile gaming platforms in recent years.
Jobs went on a medical leave of absence from Apple in January of this year, though he continued to make public appearances until announcing his retirement
A memorial page
has been set up on Apple.com. Those wishing to share their thoughts, memories and condolences may do so at [email protected]