The visionary life of Steve Jobs: The most moving tributes

Apple's Steve Jobs died Wednesday at age 56, after a long battle with pancreatic cancer. A sampling of remembrances, grief, and tributes

Friends, family, and fans around the world pay tribute to visionary entrepreneur Steve Jobs, who died Wednesday after a seven-year battle with pancreatic cancer.
(Image credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

"Remembering you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose," Steve Jobs told Stanford's graduating class of 2005 in a stirring commencement speech. "You are already naked; there is no reason not to follow your heart." The man who founded Apple, revolutionized personal computing, turned Pixar into an animated-film-making behemoth, and forever changed the music and cell phone industries with iTunes, the iPod, and the iPhone, died on Wednesday at age 56, after a seven-year battle with pancreatic cancer. Admirers worldwide mourned the loss at Apple Stores, Apple's headquarters in Cupertino, Calif., and online — using the very computers, iPhones, and iPads that Jobs developed and proudly unveiled over the years. Here, a sampling of tributes to the tech visionary:

Friends and family

The Jobs family:

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Steve died peacefully today surrounded by his family. In his public life, Steve was known as a visionary; in his private life, he cherished his family.

Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, who met Jobs in the early 1970s:

It's like there's a big hole left in you, and it's very hard to go back and reflect on all the feelings. ... Everyone knows what he did — how much life he brought to the world. I think if he had a goal, he certainly far, far overachieved any goals he had from the start of things.

I think Steve Jobs would have had hopes and visions for the future, and he set up Apple Computer really to continue on in his dreams. And I hope that Apple always finds great leaders like him. He made a lot of people happy. How many times can you remember products from a company that just made you happy every time you used them?

Business partners and rivals

Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates, who had a legendary, heated rivalry with Jobs:

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.

Bob Iger, CEO of Disney, where Jobs was a board member and top shareholder after Disney bought Pixar in 2006:

Steve was such an "original," with a thoroughly creative, imaginative mind that defined an era. Despite all he accomplished, it feels like he was just getting started. With his passing the world has lost a rare original, Disney has lost a member of our family, and I have lost a great friend.

Google co-founder Sergey Brin:

From the earliest days of Google, whenever [Google co-founder] Larry [Page] and I sought inspiration for vision and leadership, we needed to look no farther than Cupertino. Steve, your passion for excellence is felt by anyone who has ever touched an Apple product (including the MacBook I am writing this on right now).

News Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch:

Today, we lost one of the most influential thinkers, creators and entrepreneurs of all time. Steve Jobs was simply the greatest CEO of his generation. While I am deeply saddened by his passing, I'm reminded of the stunning impact he had in revolutionizing the way people consume media and entertainment.

Chris Espinosa, Apple Employee No. 8, Macintosh Team:



President Obama, who earlier this week said he got his iPad 2 from Jobs himself, "a little bit early":

Steve 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. ... The world has lost a visionary. And there may be no greater tribute to Steve's success than the fact that much of the world learned of his passing on a device he invented.

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg:

America lost a genius who will be remembered with Edison and Einstein, and whose ideas will shape the world for generations to come. Again and again over the last four decades, Steve Jobs saw the future and brought it to life long before most people could even see the horizon.

Former Sen. Chris Dodd, now head of the Motion Picture Association of America:

The genius of Steve Jobs, a man I've known for 40 years, not only brought to life the visual magic and brilliant storytelling of Pixar, but brought the world one of the most innovative and successful platforms to make movies and TV. ... If anyone ever wonders whether one person can make a difference, the answer is Steve Jobs. He will be deeply, deeply missed.

The technorati

TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington:

Damn. People like Steve jobs are supposed to live forever.

Lance Ulanoff, Mashable:

It felt like I'd been slapped in the face. There it was: On Twitter. In my email. On a phone call. Steve Jobs, the tech industry's one true icon, was gone — taken from us far too soon, at the age of 56. ... I will remember Steve Jobs on stage pausing just a moment, smiling wryly at the crowd, saying "and one more thing." One more thing that will never pass this way again.

Veteran product reviewer Walt Mossberg, All Things D:

I never knew Steve when he was first at Apple. ... But, within days of his return, in 1997, he began calling my house, on Sunday nights, for four or five straight weekends. ... They turned into marathon, 90-minute, wide-ranging, off-the-record discussions that revealed to me the stunning breadth of the man. One minute he'd be talking about sweeping ideas for the digital revolution. The next about why Apple’s current products were awful, and how a color, or angle, or curve, or icon was embarrassing. After the second such call, my wife became annoyed at the intrusion he was making in our weekend. I didn't.

Veteran tech journalist Chris Taylor, at Mashable:

For Steve Jobs, every day was like Christmas morning, and nothing could shake that feeling. My most enduring memory of him speaks to that fact too. It was a Saturday afternoon in Palo Alto, and I was having lunch with a friend in an Italian restaurant. Suddenly, Steve came in and ordered takeout. He was wearing a T-shirt and cut-off jeans, just another happy suburban dad. He took his food and left, and as he walked down that beautiful leafy street, he stretched out his arms like an airplane — like he was flying into the sunshine.

Jesus Diaz at Gizmodo, which famously incurred Jobs' wrath by buying a misplaced iPhone prototype:

Rather than writing his obituary, I thought it would be better to pay tribute to Steve Jobs by stealing one of his ideas. That's why I made this last Think Different video, in memoriam. [See below]

I'm sure he would have hated it, but whatever. You're dead now, Steve, you crazy round peg in the square hole, you handsome bastard, you insufferable and unrepeatable genius you, you awesome man with The Vision. Deal with it, because now the world will suck a bit more without your love for perfection, your hyperbolic obsession with magical devices, your insanely great ideas and booms and one more things. Fanboys and haters, friends and foes... will miss you dearly.

I know I will.


Sources: TheWrap/Reuters, Los Angeles Times, NPR, Gizmodo, Businessweek, TIME, New York Times

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