Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, who had become too weak to climb even the stairs in his final days, was still in “tight control of his choices”, choosing only to spend time with his family, saying final goodbyes to a handful of very close friends and advising Apple executives on the launch of the new iPhone.

Jobs, who had fought pancreatic cancer for years, knew in February this year that his time was running short.

In his final months, Jobs’ concerns were for people who depended on him, “the people who worked for him at Apple and his four children and his wife,” a report in the New York Times quoted his sister Mona Simpson as saying.

“His tone was tenderly apologetic at the end. He felt terrible that he would have to leave us,” she said.

As he had done for most of his life, Jobs had tight control of his choices even in his final weeks.

He turned down invitations to farewell dinners and to accept various awards. He had decided who he “most needed to see before he left.”

He spent most of his time with his wife and children.

“Steve made choices,” close friend and physician Dean Ornish said.

“I once asked him if he was glad that he had kids, and he said, ‘It is 10,000 times better than anything I have ever done.’”

In his final weeks, Jobs had dined with Ornish at one of his favourite sushi restaurants Jin Sho in Palo Alto.

He said goodbye to long-time colleagues venture capitalist John Doerr, Apple board member Bill Campbell and Disney chief executive Robert Iger.

He even advised Apple’s executives on the launch of the iPhone 4S, which occurred a day before he died.

Jobs also started a new drug regime, telling some friends that there was reason for hope, it said.

“But for Steve, it was all about living life on his own terms and not wasting a moment with things he did not think were important. He was aware that his time on earth was limited. He wanted control of what he did with the choices that were left.”

Realising time was not on his side, he quietly told a few acquaintances, and they, in turn, whispered to others and “so a pilgrimage began,” the report said, adding that his wife had to turn down requests from numerous acquaintances to visit him saying he had grown too weak.

“Everyone always wanted a piece of Steve,” said one acquaintance.

“He created all these layers to protect himself from the fan boys and other peoples’ expectations and the distractions that have destroyed so many other companies. But once you are gone, you belong to the world,” he added.

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