Apple co-founder Steve Jobs has died.

His death was reported Wednesday evening by Apple, where Jobs had only recently stepped down as CEO. He was 56.

"Apple has lost a visionary and creative genius and the world has lost an amazing human being," the company said on its website.

"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."

 

Apple's board of directors also added: "Steve's brilliance,
passion and energy were the source of countless innovations that enrich
and improve all of our lives. The world is immeasurably better because
of Steve. His greatest love was for his wife, Laurene, and his family.
Our hearts go out to them and to all who were touched by his
extraordinary gifts," according to ABC News.

Jobs had stepped down from the company in August. He had previously battled pancreatic cancer.

Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, Jobs' long-time rival, released a statement Wednesday evening, saying "I’m truly saddened to learn of Steve Jobs’ death," according to The Wall Street Journal.

"Melinda and I extend our sincere condolences to his family and friends, and to everyone Steve has touched through his work. 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.”

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