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Steve Jobs, the co-founder of Apple -- the company that ushered in the era of home computers and brought us iPods, iPhones and iPads -- has stepped down as chief executive officer of the company.
Though no official reason was given for his move, Jobs, 56, has battled serious health problems, including pancreatic cancer, in recent years. In a letter posted by The Wall Street Journal, Jobs hints that his failing health might be the culprit.
"I have always said that if there ever came a day when I could no longer meet my duties and expectations as Apple's C.E.O., I would be the first to let you know," Jobs said in the letter. "Unfortunately, that day has come."
Tim Cook, Apple's chief operating officer, has been named Jobs' successor as CEO. But Jobs isn't quitting the company altogether; he'll remain on as chairman of the board.
Jobs has been on medical leave since January -- his ever-dwindling frame and drawn face serving as stark cues that all was not well. He had surgery for pancreatic cancer in 2004, and received a liver transplant in 2009.
Jobs co-founded Apple in 1976, and the company introduced the first Macintosh personal computer in 1984. Apple later changed the way we enjoy music and entertainment with a quickly lauded and immediately embraced string of i-named devices: the iPod music player, the iPhone smartphone and the iPad tablet computer. Jobs -- known for his famous black mock turtleneck and jeans attire -- also co-founded the animation company Pixar.
With his singular vision and reputation for going with his gut instead of market testing, Jobs inspired such strong devotion among both employees and customers that their ardor has been described as "cult-like."