Apple co-founder and chairman Steven P. Jobs died on Wednesday at the age of 56.
Apple's statement announcing Jobs's passing does not mention a cause of death.
"Apple has lost a visionary and creative genius, and the world has lost an amazing human being," said CEO Tim Cook. "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."
Cook became CEO in August after Jobs stepped down because he could not longer meet his duties and expectations.
Jobs faced health challenges in recent years after being diagnosed with a rare form of pancreatic cancer in 2004. He took a medical leave in 2009 for six months, during which he received a liver transplant. He took another medical leave of absence at the beginning of this year.
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Jobs's accomplishments as a corporate leader and visionary have been remarkable. Not only was he one of the key figures in the creation of the personal computer industry, but after leaving Apple in 1985, he returned 11 years later to revive the company and turn it into one of the most valuable and admired companies in the world. He also acquired Pixar in 1986 and turned it into a singularly successful animated film company.
More recently, Jobs helped usher in the mobile computing era with the iPhone in 2007 and the iPad in 2010. His vision of the Macintosh as a central hub for Apple's iPod and digital cameras evolved into the widely imitated app store model, which has shifted power back to platform owners and re-centralized the decentralized distribution model that evolved with the Internet.
Jobs's passing has elicited heartfelt remembrances and condolences from his peers, rivals, friends, and admirers.
"Melinda and I extend our sincere condolences to Steve Jobs' family & friends," said Microsoft chairman Bill Gates via Twitter. "The world rarely sees someone who made such a profound impact."
Google co-founder Sergey Brin lauded Jobs's vision, passion for excellence, and inspirational leadership.
"On behalf of all of us at Google and more broadly in technology, you will be missed very much," Brin wrote in a Google+ post. "My condolences to family, friends, and colleagues at Apple."
Apple's Web site currently invites visitors to share thoughts, memories, and condolences at the email address firstname.lastname@example.org. Google's home page links back to Apple's site with the phrase "Steve Jobs, 1955 - 2011."