In a tragic development, Apple, Inc. confirmed on Wednesday that Steve Jobs, the company’s co-founder and icon of the personal computing and wireless telecommunications industries, had died at the age of 56. Jobs, who had battled pancreatic cancer since 2004, succumbed just six weeks after stepping down as Apple CEO. Despite his health challenges, which forced two medical leaves of absence in the past three years, Jobs—the creative genius behind the Apple Macintosh computer that set the design standard for modern PC operating systems—remained deeply engaged in product development and in Apple’s affairs until nearly the end. Declaring, “the world rarely sees someone who has had the profound impact Steve has had,” Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates marveled that “the most productive chapter in Mr. Jobs’s career occurred near the end of his life, when a nearly unbroken string of successful products like the iPod, iPhone and iPad changed the PC, electronics and digital media industries.” Walt Disney CEO Bob Iger remembered Jobs as “a great friend as well as a trusted advisor” as he predicted that Jobs’s legacy “will extend far beyond the products he created or the businesses he built.” Observing that Jobs “leaves behind a company that only he could have built, and his spirit will forever be the foundation of Apple,” Apple CEO Tim Cook vowed: “we will honor his memory by dedicating ourselves to continuing the work he loved so much.”