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Steve Jobs Dead at 56

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Visionary, entrepreneur, showman ... Steve Jobs lived an amazing life not only for his empire-building abilities, but for also being able to keep his private life, for the most part, private -- all in a very public world.

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On par with American legends Thomas Edison, Henry Ford and Howard Hughes, Steve Jobs -- who died yesterday at the age of 56 -- undeniably changed the world.

Ever drag and drop a file on a computer screen? Thanks, Steve Jobs. Ever run an extra mile because "shuffle" served up the perfect song, right in stride? Thanks, Steve Jobs.

Ever video chat with someone you really, really wanted to see -- all while leaning back on your couch? Thanks, Steve Jobs. For that matter, Super Bowl commercials became a full-fledged genre after Jobs' & Apple's "1984" ad aired.

Jobs is widely credited with being one of the first to successfully design, develop and market a personal computer for the masses. And then, two decades later, he started destroying the personal computer when he introduced the iPad.

His family said he died peacefully and surrounded by family. Jobs battled cancer in 2004, had a liver transplant in 2009, and recently resigned as CEO of Apple due to health concerns.

Condolences and accolades poured in Wednesday from across the country. On Twitter, #thankyousteve continues to trend as personal tributes from around the world pour in.

Jobs was the co-founder of Apple Inc., one of the world's most profitable companies, along with Steve Wozniak and Mike Markkula.

Under Jobs' tutelage, Apple grew from a niche computer company into the most valuable company in the world -- its products and services creating not only a new business model (ecosystem), but also altering the way many people simply live their lives.

Originally, the founding trio developed the first Macintosh computer in the early 1980s and Jobs went on to lead the company until 1985 when he left the company to start NeXT computers.

Jobs ran NeXT for more than 10 years before a struggling Apple asked him to return. The Cupertino-based company purchased Jobs' company and he began to serve as Apple's CEO again in 1997.

What followed was a decade that not only changed the fortunes of Apple but the tech world and several industries, including the way music, movies and television programming was developed, distributed and consumed.

Under Jobs' second watch as Apple's leader, the company developed such revolutionary products as the iPhone and the iPad as well as software platforms, such as iTunes, that turned out to be highly profitable ventures for the company.

The popularity of Apple's products made it one of the most admired, and profitable, companies in the world.

But during his second stint as Apple CEO, Jobs was plagued, at times, by ill health and constant stockholder and media speculation about its impact on his ability to lead the company.

Constant rumors and premature declarations of his death caused Apple's stock to fluctuate up and down. Health would remain a constant issue until his eventual retirement.

Jobs was forced to take three leaves of absence due to health issues.

In 2004, Jobs took a leave to have surgery to remove a tumor in his pancreas. And then in 2009 he took another leave for an undisclosed medical reason, which he later revealed was to recover from a liver transplant.

Most recently, Jobs took his third leave from Apple in Jan., 2011, for another undisclosed medical condition. Seven months later, Jobs sent a letter to Apple's Board of Directors announcing his resignation as CEO of the company.

In his letter, Jobs recommended that Tim Cook be appointed the CEO of Apple and that Jobs be allowed to serve as Apple's Director of the Board.

Beyond Apple, Jobs also served on the board for Disney and Pixar and he is listed as either the primary or co-inventor on 338 American patents and patent applications.

Jobs is survived by his wife, Laurene Powell, who he married in 1991, a son and three daughters.

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