- "Steve Jobs was an extraordinary visionary, our very dear friend and the guiding light of the Pixar family. He saw the potential of what Pixar could be before the rest of us, and beyond what anyone ever imagined. Steve took a chance on us and believed in our crazy dream of making computer animated films; the one thing he always said was to simply 'make it great.' He is why Pixar turned out the way we did and his strength, integrity and love of life has made us all better people. He will forever be a part of Pixar’s DNA."
- —John Lasseter and Ed Catmull
Steve Jobs (February 24, 1955 - October 5, 2011) was one of the three founding fathers of Pixar Animation Studios. A business magnate and inventor, he was the former CEO of Apple Inc. and Pixar Animation Studios. On October 5, 2011, Jobs died peacefully beside his family at an age of 56.
In 1986, Jobs acquired the computer graphics division of Lucasfilm, Ltd. and renamed it Pixar Animation Studios. He remained CEO and majority shareholder at 50.1% until its acquisition by The Walt Disney Company on May 5, 2006. Jobs became Disney's largest individual shareholder at 7% and a member of Disney's Board of Directors.
He was credited in Toy Story as an Executive Producer. Despite later having little-to-no involvement with Pixar productions, he is often credited under "Special Thanks" during the credits of Pixar's films.
Apple Computer, Inc. was established on April 1, 1976 by Jobs, Steve Wozniak, and Ronald Wayne, to sell the Apple I personal computer kit. After losing a power struggle with the board of directors in 1984, Jobs resigned from Apple and founded NeXT, a computer platform development company specializing in the higher education and business markets. Apple's subsequent 1996 buyout of NeXT brought Jobs back to the company he co-founded, and he served as CEO from 1997 until 2011.
On August 24, 2011, Jobs announced his resignation as Apple's CEO. He was replaced by COO and longtime heir apparent Tim Cook. Jobs, by resignation letter request, was elected chairman of Apple's board of directors.
On December 14th, 2011, John Lasseter left a farewell to Steve Jobs in an article on TIME. He said that Steve would often share some of his early ideas that later became the iPod, iPhone, and iMovie. He also explained that when Steve wanted to go back to Apple, he wanted to get John's blessing before doing so.
On October 5, 2011, Jobs' family made a statement that he "died peacefully today". A copy of his death certificate indicated respiratory arrest as the immediate cause of death, with a "metastatic pancreas neuroendocrine tumor", or pancreatic cancer as the underlying cause.
Apple released a separate statement saying that Jobs had died. The statement read, "We are deeply saddened to announce that Steve Jobs passed away today. Steve's brilliance, passion and energy were the source of countless innovations that enrich and improve all of our lives. The world is immeasurably better because of Steve. His greatest love was for his wife, Laurene, and his family. Our hearts go out to them and to all who were touched by his extraordinary gifts."
Also on October 5, 2011, Apple's corporate website greeted visitors with a simple page showing Jobs' name and lifespan next to his greyscale portrait. Clicking on Jobs' image led to an obituary that read "Apple has lost a visionary and creative genius, and the world has lost an amazing human being. Those of us who have been fortunate enough to know and work with Steve have lost a dear friend and an inspiring mentor. Steve leaves behind a company that only he could have built, and his spirit will forever be the foundation of Apple." An email address was also posted for the public to share their memories, condolences, and thoughts.
Jobs is survived by his wife, Laurene, to whom he was married for 20 years; their three children, Reed, Erin, and Eve, and a fourth child, Lisa Brennan-Jobs, from a previous relationship.
Statements reacting to Jobs' death were released by several notable people, including U.S. President Barack Obama, Microsoft founder Bill Gates, Disney President Bob Iger, Steven Spielberg, Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Wozniak, George Lucas and Ed Catmull & John Lasseter.