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Apple's Jobs Doing Well Following Liver Transplant

The co-founder and CEO took a a six-month leave of absence from Apple to recover from an undisclosed illness that many industry watchers believed was related to the previous surgery.

Photo by Macinate/Flickr

Apple chief executive Steve Jobs has received a liver transplant and is "recovering well and has an excellent prognosis," the hospital that performed the surgery confirmed this week.

Jobs did not receive preferential treatment, but received the new liver because he was the "sickest patient on the waiting list at the time a donor organ became available," Dr. James D. Eason, program director at Methodist University Hospital Transplant Institute, said in a statement released late Tuesday.

People awaiting liver transplants receive a score based on the seriousness of their illness. People with the highest MELD score get first consideration when a liver is available. MELD stands for model for end-stage liver disease.

Eason released the brief statement with Jobs' permission. While no details of the Jobs' condition were given, the surgeon said, "Mr. Jobs is now recovering well and has an excellent prognosis."

Methodist University performed 120 liver transplants last year, making it one of the 10 largest liver transplant centers in the United States, according to the hospital. The survival rates for patients who live longer than a year after surgery are "among the best in the nation."

Jobs, 54, underwent surgery for a rare form of pancreatic cancer in 2004. In mid-January, he took a six-month leave of absence from Apple to recover from an undisclosed illness that many industry watchers believed was related to the previous surgery. Job at the time said he was suffering from a "hormone imbalance."

Medical experts say it's not unusual for the kind of cancer Jobs had to spread to the liver and cause hormonal problems. The Wall Street Journal was the first news organization to report that Jobs received a liver transplant and said last week the surgery was performed two months ago.

Apple had declined comment beyond the hospital statement, saying only that Jobs plans to return as scheduled at the end of June.

Jobs has reportedly been seen on the Apple campus. CNBC reported that he was spotted by Apple employees on Monday.

Because Jobs is so closely tied to Apple's success, the company he co-founded has been criticized for keeping investors too much in the dark about his health. Jobs is responsible for Apple's re-emergence as a consumer electronics powerhouse with the development of the iMac, iPod, and iPhone.

The Securities and Exchange Commission has reportedly reviewed Apple's disclosures about Jobs' health, but has yet to comment.

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