CUPERTINO, Calif. – Apple says the company’s co-founder Steve Jobs has died. He was 56.

In a brief statement the company said Jobs died Wednesday.

Jobs, who was dubbed as an innovator, visionary and genius, had been battling pancreatic cancer.

“We are deeply saddened to announce that Steve Jobs passed away today,” the company said in a brief statement.
“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.”

Jobs was first diagnosed in 2003, but his battle with the disease and a liver transplant he received a few years ago were kept quiet.

He took a medical leave of absence in January and stepped down as CEO of Apple on August 24.

His family also released a statement, saying in his public life, he was known as a visionary, but in his private life he cherished his family.

The news Apple fans and shareholders had been dreading came the day after Apple unveiled its latest version of the iPhone, just one in a procession of devices that shaped technology and society while Jobs was running the company.

Outside the Apple store in San Francisco, people remembered Jobs by taking photos with their iPhones. One employee held an iPad while praising Jobs for his innovation and the way he changed the way people live, work and do business. Others said they were simply shocked by his passing.

Meanwhile, a lone candle burned and a bouquet of flowers sat at an Apple store in New York City.

Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak told CNN Jobs’ legacy is “giving mankind the most useful, helpful tools we’ve ever had in our history. For the ones that we would enjoy the most – the ones that we not only use, but we love – we come to love like a human being.”

In a speech at Stanford University in 2005, Jobs told his story – how he was put up for adoption, but his birth mother wanted to ensure he went to college, so she ensured he would be adopted by college-educated parents and chose a lawyer and his wife.

However, the chosen couple wanted a girl, and Jobs was adopted by a different couple – a woman who had never gone to college, and a man who did not graduate high school. At first his birth mother did not want them to adopt him, until his soon-to-be adoptive parents promised they would give their new son a college education.

In the end, Jobs dropped out of Reed College because his adoptive parents had very little money, and he thought it was too expensive. However, he began spending more time around the school, sleeping on the floors and returning pop bottles for cash.

He then began to take a few classes he thought were interesting, such as calligraphy, which eventually helped him design what he called the “beautiful typography” and typefaces of the original Macintosh computer.

He founded Apple in 1977, but left the company shortly after the debut of the original Macintosh in 1985 due to a disagreement with the board of directors. He returned 10 years later when the company was on the brink of bankruptcy and required a loan from Microsoft.

Over the next 10 years, Jobs refocused Apple, creating the iPod, iTunes and iPhone, while founding Pixar animation on the side.

“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,” Jobs said at the end of his speech. He added that after he returned to the company he started, he enjoyed every day because he loved what he was doing.

Apple is now considered the most valuable company in the world.

On Wednesday evening, Bill Gates tweeted “Melinda and I extend our sincere condolences to Steve Jobs’ family & friends. The world rarely sees someone who made such a profound impact.”

Statement from the family of Steve Jobs:

“In his public life, Steve was known as a visionary; in his private life, he cherished his family. We are thankful to the many people who have shared their wishes and prayers during the last year of Steve’s illness; a website will be provided for those who wish to offer tributes and memories.

We are grateful for the support and kindness of those who share our feelings for Steve. We know many of you will mourn with us, and we ask that you respect our privacy during our time of grief.”

Statement from Bill Gates:

“I’m truly saddened to learn of Steve Jobs’ death. Melinda and I extend our sincere condolences to his family and friends, and to everyone Steve has touched through his work.

Steve and I first met nearly 30 years ago, and have been colleagues, competitors and friends over the course of more than half our lives.

The world rarely sees someone who has had the profound impact Steve has had, the effects of which will be felt for many generations to come.

For those of us lucky enough to get to work with him, it’s been an insanely great honor. I will miss Steve immensely.”

Statement from RIM co-CEO’s Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie:

“Steve Jobs was a great visionary and a respected competitor. We extend our deepest condolences to his family and to all of the employees of Apple.”

Statement from Nadir Mohamed, President and Chief Executive Officer, Rogers Communications:

“Steve Jobs was one of the greatest innovators of our time. He revolutionized how we consume entertainment, access information and stay in touch by making iconic devices that are brilliantly designed, intuitive and easy to use. He had a clear vision for what technology should deliver to consumers and his focus on the customer was relentless. He will be sorely missed. Our deepest condolences go out to his family, his friends and to all the employees at Apple.”