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    Apple founder and ex-CEO Steve Jobs died at the age of 56, Apple said on its website on Thursday.

    Apple founder and ex-CEO Steve Jobs died at the age of 56, Apple said on its website on Thursday.

    The cause of death was not disclosed, but Jobs struggled with cancer since 2003. He underwent a successful surgery in 2004 and a liver transplantation in 2008.

    "Apple has lost a visionary and creative genius, and the world has lost an amazing human being," the company said. "Steve leaves behind a company that only he could have built, and his spirit will forever be the foundation of Apple."

    Jobs is credited with being the mastermind of the company's iconic products - iPhone and iPad.

    "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," the company's board of directors said.

    U.S. President Barack Obama issued a statement praising Jobs as one of the greatest American innovators who has brought joy to millions.

    “Michelle and I are saddened to learn of the passing of Steve Jobs. Steve was among the greatest of American innovators - brave enough to think differently, bold enough to believe he could change the world, and talented enough to do it,” Obama said.

    “By making computers personal and putting the internet in our pockets, he made the information revolution not only accessible, but intuitive and fun,” he added.

    Condolences came from all over the world, including U.S. President Barack Obama, as well as from friends, colleagues and rivals.

    “Steve, thank you for being a mentor and a friend. Thanks for showing that what you build can change the world. I will miss you,” Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg wrote.

    “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,” Jobs’ longtime rival, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, said. "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.”

    Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin have also posted their condolences on the Web.

    “Steve, your passion for excellence is felt by anyone who has ever touched an Apple product (including the Macbook I am writing this on right now),” Brin said.

    “He always seemed to be able to say in very few words what you actually should have been thinking before you thought it,” Page said. “His focus on the user experience above all else has always been an inspiration to me.”

    Steve Jobs is one of the greatest examples of success in the history of American business. He dropped out of college after one year, and never received a degree in technology. The future Apple CEO earned his living by collecting empty bottles before he started working at a company that produced video games.

    Twitter erupted with a fast-moving stream of emotional reactions, and the hashtags #ThankYouSteve, RIP Steve Jobs and Only 56 became trending topics within hours. The online community also created hashtags #iDead, #iHeaven, #iClouds and #iSad – similar to names of Apple’s iconic products.

    There have also been numerous re-twits of the Apple’s founder’s famous phrase “Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.”

    Steve Jobs is one of the greatest examples of success in the history of American business. He dropped out of college after one year, and never received a degree in technology. The future Apple CEO earned his living by collecting empty bottles before he started working at a company that produced video games.

    Jobs and Stephen Wozniak founded Apple Computer in 1976. Its products gained a cult following for several consumer generations all over the world.

    The strong link between Jobs' personality and the company became evident this January. When the company announced that its CEO took another indefinite health leave and temporarily delegated his authority to chief operating officer Tim Cook, the company's shares fell despite its successful financial performance.

    This August, the legendary chief executive officer of Apple Inc., resigned and named Cook to the post.

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