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Obama leads tributes to "visionary" Steve Jobs

Tributes flood in from around the world as Apple announces the death of its co-founder and former Chief Executive.

Steve Jobs appeared on the cover of TIME seven times - most recently in December 2010.
Steve Jobs appeared on the cover of TIME seven times - most recently in December 2010.
Image: Courtesy of TIME Magazine

Updated, 08.53

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA has led tributes to the former Apple chief executive and co-founder Steve Jobs, who has died at the age of 56.

“By building one of the planet’s most successful companies from his garage, he exemplified the spirit of American ingenuity,” Obama said of Jobs, whose death was confirmed overnight by the company he made famous.

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

Taoiseach Enda Kenny also paid tribute to Jobs, describing him as a “creative genius who broke down walls in business and opened doors in people’s minds.

“His innovative prowess in the area of technology has brought about a level of access to information for millions that few would have ever foreseen.”

Bill Gates – whose Microsoft came to be seen as Apple’s great rival for decades – said the world “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.

“For those of us lucky enough to get to work with him, it’s been an insanely great honour. I will miss Steve immensely.”

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg posted a status update to thank Jobs “for being a mentor and a friend” and “for showing that what you build can change the world”.

Google c0-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin also offered their thoughts on Jobs’ passing; Brin said he and Page “needed to look no farther than Cupertino”, Apple’s headquarters, when they needed inspiration.

“On behalf of all of us at Google and more broadly in technology, you will be missed very much,” Brin said.

Page added: “He always seemed to be able to say in very few words what you actually should have been thinking before you thought it.”

Obama leads tributes to "visionary" Steve Jobs
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  • Twitter tributes to Steve Jobs

  • Twitter tributes to Steve Jobs

  • Twitter tributes to Steve Jobs

  • Twitter tributes to Steve Jobs

  • Twitter tributes to Steve Jobs

  • Twitter tributes to Steve Jobs

  • Twitter tributes to Steve Jobs

  • Twitter tributes to Steve Jobs

  • Twitter tributes to Steve Jobs

  • Twitter tributes to Steve Jobs

  • Twitter tributes to Steve Jobs

At the Apple store in downtown Chicago, Irish electrician Peter O’Reilly – browsing iPhones, iPads and laptops in the store – learned of Jobs’ death when a sombre-looking employee broke down in tears.

“I can’t imagine a world without Apple products,” O’Reilly told AP.

Marks of respect soon flowed from around the world. “iSad” was a trending topic on Twitter. Mac Users Group Mexico released a statement that concluded, “Let’s breathe deeply and say, VIVA STEVE JOBS!”

There were more traditional tributes closer to Silicon Valley. People placed flowers and scrawled chalk messages in front of the gates of Jobs’ Palo Alto home, where family and friends gathered.

Someone wrote “Thank you, Steve” in lipstick on the window of an Apple Store in Santa Monica – while in San Francisco people left tributes on Post-It notes stuck to the front window of the Apple Store in Union Square.

Scott Robbins, 34, a barber from San Francisco and an Apple fan for nearly 20 years, said he came as soon as he heard the news.

“To some people, this is like Elvis Presley or John Lennon — it’s a change in our times,” Robbins said. “It’s the end of an era, of what we’ve known Apple to be. It’s like the end of the innovators.”

At an Apple Store in New York City, where a small collection of flowers and candles had started to form, Jacqueline Thuener-Rego, said Jobs has helped change how people think about their relationship with technology.

“You don’t think of it as technology, you think of it as memories, experiences,” the 28-year-old actress from Brooklyn said. “It’s as integrated into your life as a cup of coffee. The technology has become the human experience.”

Additional reporting via AP

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