Apple chief executive Steve Jobs died too soon Wednesday at age 56 -- only months after his resignation as chief executive of the company he co-founded, but long after he, his colleagues, and those inspired and empowered by their work had pounded a series of dents into the universe.
Fellow internet pioneer Bill Gates said Jobs' "profound impact" would " be felt for many generations to come". Gates added: "For those of us lucky enough to get to work with him, it's been an insanely great honour. I will miss Steve immensely."
'The face of Apple'
"Apple has lost a visionary and creative genius, and the world has lost an amazing human being," Apple said. "Steve leaves behind a company that only he could have built, and his spirit will forever be the foundation of Apple."
He was one of the world's best-known business leaders and introduced the iPod and the iPhone to the world. His death came a day after Apple unveiled its latest iPhone 4S model. Jobs announced in 2004 that he was suffering from pancreatic cancer and had a liver transplant five years later. In January, he took medical leave, before resigning as CEO in August and handing over his duties to Tim Cook.