Steve Jobs, the co-founder, chairman and until very recently CEO of Apple, Inc., died today after a long battle with cancer. He was 56.
Jobs leaves behind a legacy of inventions known (and loved) for their functionality and elegance as well as several critically acclaimed animated films produced through Pixar Animation Studios.
In 1976, following a stint as a technician at Atari and a spiritual retreat to India that converted him to Buddhism, Steve Jobs, along with Steve Wozniak and Ronald Wayne, founded Apple, Inc.
In the late '70s, Jobs and his team developed one of the first commercially successful lines of personal computers, the Apple II series. In the early '80s, Jobs was among the first to see the commercial potential of a little device known as the mouse, which led to the creation of the Macintosh.
Jobs actually resigned from Apple in 1985 and founded NeXT, a computer platform development company focused on the higher education and business markets. However, Apple bought NeXT in 1996, which brought Jobs back to the company he co-founded -- he served as its CEO from 1997 until Aug. 24, 2011, during which time he introduced the world to such wonderful toys as the iMac, iPod, the iPhone and the iPad.
Steve Jobs had a profound effect on Hollywood as well, particularly through the animation business. In 1986, he acquired the computer graphics division of Lucasfilm Ltd, which spun off as company known as Pixar Animation Studios, which produced such animated hits as "Toy Story" (1995), "A Bug's Life" (1998), "Toy Story 2" (1999), "Monsters, Inc." (2001), "Finding Nemo" (2003), "Cars" (2006), "Ratatouille" (2007), "WALL-E" (2008), "Up" (2009), "Toy Story 3" (2010) and "Cars 2" (2011).
Jobs remained CEO of Pixar until its acquisition by The Walt Disney Company in 2006, after which Jobs became Disney's largest individual shareholder (at 7%) and a member of Disney's Board of Directors.
Walt Disney President/CEO Bob Iger circulated this response to Jobs' death: "Steve Jobs was a great friend as well as a trusted advisor. His legacy will extend far beyond the products he created or the businesses he built. It will be the millions of people he inspired, the lives he changed and the culture he defined. 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. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Laurene and his children during this difficult time."
Pixar's John Lasseter and Ed Catmull said: "Steve Jobs was an extraordinary visionary, our very dear friend and the guiding light of the Pixar family. He saw the potential of what Pixar could be before the rest of us, and beyond what anyone ever imagined. Steve took a chance on us and believed in our crazy dream of making computer animated films; the one thing he always said was to simply 'make it great.' He is why Pixar turned out the way we did and his strength, integrity and love of life has made us all better people. He will forever be a part of Pixar’s DNA. Our hearts go out to his wife Laurene and their children during this incredibly difficult time."
Steve Jobs is survived by his wife, Laurene Powell Jobs, and their four children.