Steve Jobs, the 56-year-old iconic co-founder of Apple, breathed his last on Wednesday.

“Technology alone is not enough,” Steve Jobs, the 56-year-old iconic co-founder of Apple, declared last year while unveiling the iPad. “It's technology married with liberal arts, married with humanities, that yields the results that make our hearts sing.” On Wednesday, his own heart stilled as he lost the battle with pancreatic cancer; but the chord he first struck in his garage-based computer venture three decades ago by linking the drive for innovation with the consumer's desire for utilitarian technology will continue to move the world of computing and electronics for many years to come.

A pioneer who made Silicon Valley synonymous with entrepreneurial spirit, innovation and technological excellence, Jobs, launched Apple with his friend, Steve Wozniak, in 1976.

Jobs “died peacefully surrounded by his family,” his wife, Laurene, and four children, said in a statement. In a tribute, Apple said it had “lost a creative and visionary genius and the world [had] lost an amazing human being.”

Tributes poured in from around the world and fans flocked to Apple stores in several countries to mourn the passing of the “leading light” of the digital age, as one industry CEO described him. Flags flew at half mast at the headquarters of the company at Cupertino, California.

Steve Jobs was diagnosed with a rare form of treatable pancreatic cancer in 2003, and underwent surgery. He had a liver transplant six years later with doctors giving him an “excellent prognosis.” In August this year, Jobs stepped down as the CEO of Apple, making way for Tim Cook to take over. He declared that the day had come when he could no longer meet his duties.

U.S. President Barack Obama described Steve Jobs as 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.

Bill Gates, co-founder of Microsoft, said in a statement, “For those of us lucky enough to get to work with Steve, it's been an insanely great honor. I will miss Steve immensely.”

In India, the Prime Minister and captains of industry praised his contributions.

Google paid homage with a “Steve Jobs 1955-2011” hyperlink on its home page that took visitors to the Apple website. Others who paid tribute included Google CEO Larry Page, co-founder Sergey Brin, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, and Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen.

Starting as a young entrepreneur who swapped computer parts and ideas in a small computer club in the mid-70s, Jobs — a college drop-out who admired “brilliant troublemakers” — launched the Apple II personal computer in 1977 with Wozniak, achieving notable success. A personal computer that uses a graphical user interface and mouse, the Apple Macintosh was introduced in 1984, developing ideas from Xerox PARC. It was also a commercial hit.

In a dramatic turn of events, Jobs had to leave his own company in 1985, before returning to it and taking over as CEO a dozen years later. In the interim years, he founded NeXT Computer (which was later acquired by Apple) and developed Pixar, the animation company famous for such hits as Finding Nemo, Cars and Toy Story.

Jobs' focus on music, images, videos and highly portable gadgets that connect to computers as part of a “digital hub” strategy was a big success with consumers, starting with the iTunes music management software, and evolving into wildly popular devices such as the iPod, iPhone, and more recently, the iPad tablet computer. This ecosystem of devices and services is described by some as a “walled garden” as it is controlled by Apple, but is a massive hit nevertheless with millions of fans around the world.