In an email to all Apple employees, CEO Tim Cook wrote:
“Team, I have some very sad news to share with all of you. Steve passed away earlier today.
“Apple has lost a visionary and creative genius, and the world has lost an amazing human being. Those of us who have been fortunate enough to know and work with Steve have lost a dear friend and an inspiring mentor. Steve leaves behind a company that only he could have built, and his spirit will forever be the foundation of Apple.
“We are planning a celebration of Steve’s extraordinary life for Apple employees that will take place soon. If you would like to share your thoughts, memories and condolences in the interim, you can simply email email@example.com.
“No words can adequately express our sadness at Steve’s death or our gratitude for the opportunity to work with him. We will honor his memory by dedicating ourselves to continuing the work he loved so much.”
Tributes have been coming in from Apple’s competitors. Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates said: “For those of us lucky enough to get to work with Steve, its been an insanely great honor. I will miss Steve immensely.”
Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie, co-CEOs of Research in Motion, issued a joint statement that said: “Steve Jobs was a great visionary and a respected competitor.”
And Michael Dell, founder and CEO of Dell, said: “Today the world lost a visionary leader, the technology industry lost an iconic legend and I lost a friend and fellow founder.”
Jobs founded Apple with Steve Wozniak in his garage in 1976. The first Apple Mac computer was launched in 1984, a year before Jobs was ousted from the company. He returned in 1996, and became CEO in 2000.
He was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2004, and after taking three spells of medical leave, finally resigned as CEO in August 2011, handing over the reins to Tim Cook.
You can read our appreciation of Steve Jobs life, and work, here.