United States President Barack Obama made a rare statement mourning the passing of Steve Jobs (56), Cofounder, Chairman and former Chief Executive of Apple Inc., saying that he and First Lady Michelle Obama were saddened to learn of the death of one of “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.”
His statement came a few hours after Apple announced on its website that Mr. Jobs had passed away. Displaying nothing but a photograph of Mr. Jobs and its main menu bar on its homepage Apple said that it had lost a visionary and creative genius, and that the world had lost an amazing human being. “Steve leaves behind a company that only he could have built, and his spirit will forever be the foundation of Apple,” the company said.
In a tribute to Mr. Jobs’ spirit, Mr. Obama said that he exemplified American ingenuity and recalled that Mr. Jobs was fond of saying that he lived every day like it was his last. “Because he did, he transformed our lives, redefined entire industries, and achieved one of the rarest feats in human history: he changed the way each of us sees the world,” Mr. Obama said.
Mr. Obama’s comment in some senses reflected a now-famous speech that Mr. Jobs made at a commencement event at Stanford University in 2005. In that speech Mr. Jobs had spoken about inspiration when he said, “Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don't lose faith. I'm convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You've got to find what you love.”
Having learned of his cancer diagnosis a year earlier Mr. Jobs had also touched upon the theme of death and said, “Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything – all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important.”
Underscoring the sea-change in technology that was brought about by Apple’s numerous, elegant products Mr. Obama said that in Mr. Jobs’ death “the world has lost a visionary, and there may be no greater tribute to Steve’s success than the fact that much of the world learned of his passing on a device he invented.”
The President spoke especially of Mr. Jobs’ transformative innovations and said that by making computers personal and literally putting the internet into people’s pockets, he made the information revolution not only accessible, but intuitive and fun. “By turning his talents to storytelling, he has brought joy to millions of children and grownups alike,” Mr. Obama added.