Apple has confirmed that founder and CEO Steve Jobs died last night after a long battle with cancer.
Jobs, who was 56, founded Apple in 1976 with Steve Wozniak and Ronald Wayne, and is held in high esteem for his advancements in home computing, smartphones and MP3 devices. Despite only having been launched in 2010, the Apple iPad is now recognised as the de facto tablet computer.
In a statement on its website, Apple said: “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 friends 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.”
Jobs' last major appearance was in March at the launch of the iPad 2. He resigned as CEO of Apple in August, with Tim Cook announced as his successor. Cook this week announced the launch of the iPhone 4S and iOS 5.
US president Barack Obama said Jobs "was among the greatest of American innovators – brave enough to think differently, bold enough to believe he could change the world, and talented enough to do it".
John Chambers, CEO of Cisco, said in a statement: “The world lost a true visionary and great man today. Steve Jobs did more than simply shape our concepts of technology and invention, he helped define our understanding of how great innovation and design can bring people closer together.
“I, and everyone at Cisco, am deeply saddened. Our deepest sympathies go out to his colleagues and family. We'll miss you, Steve, but your legacy will continue forever.”
Eugene Kaspersky, chairman and CEO of Kaspersky Lab, said: “Steve Jobs marked a new era that changed the way we compute, communicate, shop and entertain - it's a great loss for the whole IT industry. The progress is not just inventing a wheel and axle – it is about putting them together.
"Steve was one of a few men in the world who had the talent to do this. He really changed the world and our grand, grand, grandsons will certainly remember him as the industry's legend. Steve will stay in our hearts and mark a huge part of the world's IT development. R.I.P Steve. You changed the world and made it think differently.”Steve Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft, said: “I want to express my deepest condolences at the passing of Steve Jobs, one of the founders of our industry and a true visionary. My heart goes out to his family, everyone at Apple and everyone who has been touched by his work.”
Symantec said on Twitter that it was "saddened to hear the news about Steve Jobs. He was a great leader of innovation and will be missed by many".
Andrew Lee, CEO of ESET North America, said: “Steve was a true visionary, without whom the world of computing would be very different. If you have never seen Steve's Stanford University Commencement address, you should, it's truly inspirational.
“The third point he makes is that we will all die, and therefore there is no reason not to follow your heart. Stay hungry, stay foolish.”