Stanford Archive: Jobs Talks About Death

The one time Steve Jobs talked about death.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    This is Steve Jobs before he lost weight due to a cancer diagnosis.

    Steve Jobs, who died Wednesday after a long battle with pancreatic cancer, did not often speak of his health publicly. In fact, he kept many aspects of his diagnosis and treatment quite private.  

    There was only one time he spoke about his brush with death. He used it as a subject for a speech at Stanford's 2005 graduation.

    In Memoriam: Steve Jobs 1955-2011

    [BAY-USE THIS VERSION] In Memoriam: Steve Jobs, 1955-2011
    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. (Published Thursday, Dec 20, 2012)

    He told those gathered about the day his doctor told him to "get his affairs in order."  He said that was code for "you're going to die." 

    But, he said those same doctors broke down in tears as they performed a biopsy on his pancreas. He said instead of the deadly form they thought he had, they found a very rare form of cancer that was curable with surgery.

    At the time of that speech, Jobs thought he had beaten the disease, but he told the graduates that "no one wants to die."

    He used his story to encourage the class of 2005 to pursue their dreams and look for the opportunities in life, which he said could include death itself.

    He called death a destination we all share and no one has ever escaped it. He said that "is as it should be because death is very likely the single best invention of life. It's life's change agent that clears out the old to make way for the new."

    He told the grads that in 2005 they were the "new" but warned they would soon become the "old." He encouraged them not to waste the life they had.

    The entire speech is inspirational
    , but that part about death comes in at 11:45.