Steve Jobs' Death

Steve Jobs' Death

Part of a series on Apple. [View Related Entries]

Updated Mar 07, 2014 at 08:58PM EST by James.

Added Oct 05, 2011 at 07:50PM EDT by Brad.

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                           A mosaic art tribute to Steve Jobs by Charis Tsevis


Steve Jobs was an American entrepreneur best known for co-founding and serving as the chief executive officer of Apple Inc.. In early October 2011, Jobs passed away at age of 56 after years of struggling with pancreas neuroendocrine tumor. Due to his iconic status in the technology sector and social media, the news of Jobs’ death instantly led to an outpour of commemorations and tributes to the man.


On October 5th, 2011, Apple released a statement on its homepage that the Apple founder and former CEO Steve Jobs had passed away. The company initially didn’t specify the cause of his death, but it was eventually revealed as complications from a relapse of his pancreatic tumor that he had been battling with since the diagnosis in 2004. On October 7th, 2011, a small private funeral was held by Job’s family members and his close associates and a number of public memorial services were organized outside Apple stores in the United States and overseas.

Notable Developments

Official Statement

In remembering the founder of the company, Apple’s homepage display was replaced with a portrait of Steve Jobs (shown below, left). A similar epitaph[1] featuring grayscale portrait of Jobs (shown below, right) stayed on display for two weeks, along with an email address ( for people to send in their thoughts, memories or condolences.

“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.”

News Media Coverage

The news was first reported by Marketwatch[2], the Associated Press[3] and Gizmodo[4] as early as 7:34pm (ET) and broke news headlines on ABC, CBS and NBC, as well as making the front page of major newspapers around the world. According to Google News[5], at least 1,900 obituary articles and breaking news updates were published by daily news publications and websites within the first hour of the Associated Press report.

Online Reactions

On Reddit, a link thread to an Associated Press tweet confirming Jobs’ death was posted within the first hour[14], generating 6,600 comments within the first four hours. Twitter struggled to keep up with the flood of reactionary tweets and hashtags like “RIP Steve Jobs,” #ThankYouSteve, “iHeaven” and “Only 56” that shot up to the microblogging service’s top 10 trending topics. #SteveJobs also rose to the top globally trending hashtag of the day with a run rate of 72,000 tweets per hour at is peak, according to Twitter analytics services WhatTheTrend[15] and Twopcharts.[16]


Numerous influential figures in the social media and technology industry issued statements in remembrance of Jobs, including Apple co-founder and longtime friend Steve Wozniak[6], Microsoft co-founder and chairman Bill Gates[7], Google co-founder and CEO Larry Page[8] and Facebook co-founder and chairman Mark Zuckerberg[9]. President Obama[10] also issued a statement on the White House blog. The tech news publication Wired collected reactions and posted them in a tribute to Jobs on their homepage[11]. Music celebrities such as U2 and Coldplay also gave condolences about his death.[12]

Homepage Tributes

A number of high-profile web publications and services temporarily updated their homepages in tribute to Steve Jobs’ legacies, including Google, Reddit, Wired and BoingBoing among others.

Notable Examples

Image Tributes

On Tumblr and 4chan, image tributes and commentaries on the death of Steve Jobs soon followed. Videoblogger Ben Hughes[13] posted a two-pane image of an old Macintosh machine and a modern iMac via his Tumblr, which gained tens of thousands of notes overnight. Other iterations consisted of puns on Apple products prefixed with its signature lowercase “i-” and altered images of Apple’s logo.

Multiple Steve Jobs Advice Animals also gained popularity, featuring jokes about his death and what could have caused it. The most popular ones are Steve Jobs Says[13] and Scumbag Steve Jobs[14].

As the week passed by, more sophisticated artworks emerged online in remembering Steve Jobs’ legacies, such as large-scale photo collages and installations among others. An Athens-based visual designer Charis Tsevis[23] also released a number of photographic mosaics made out of Apple gadgets and other materials portraying Steve Jobs. According to his official portfolio, Tsevis originally created the mosaics as a “get well soon” gesture when Apple’s chief executive was on indefinite medical leave. Tsevis’ tribute artworks were highlighted in an article by Huffington Post.[25]

Video Tributes

Throughout October, a number of news programs ran special segments on the life of Steve Jobs, while YouTubers uploaded their own montage-style and musical tributes to his accomplishments. In addition, a video clip of Steve Jobs’ honorary address at Stanford University’s commencement ceremony in 2005 (shown below, bottom right) began making the rounds across blogs and social networking sites, suddenly bringing more than 15 million views to the YouTube video that had been uploaded three years prior to his death.

On October 5th, 2012, Apple revealed a tribute video to Steve Jobs on the company’s homepage in remembering the one year anniversary of his death. Featuring black-and-white still images and excerpts of quotes from his keynote speeches, the video highlighted some of Apple’s most celebrated accomplishments made under the supervision of Jobs. The message was also accompanied by a letter from the successive CEO Tim Cook (shown below).

One of the greatest gifts Steve gave to the world is Apple. No company has ever inspired such creativity or set such high standards for itself. Our values originated from Steve and his spirit will forever be the foundation of Apple. We share the same privilege and responsibility of carrying his legacy into the future.

Death Hoaxes

Between Jobs’ announcement of his diagnosis in 2004 and his death in 2011, there had been a number of premature obituaries and breaking news updates falsely reporting on the passing of Apple’s co-founder. Jobs maintained his chief executie role in the company until August 2011 when he resigned from his post.

  • In August 2008, Bloomberg mistakenly published an obituary article of Steve Jobs that had been put together by the staff in the case of such event. The report quickly spread through its corporate news service and the rumor intensified as blogs and other news carriers began syndicating the story.
  • During the Macworld Keynote speech in January 2009, Apple-related forum MacRumors was infiltrated by a hacker who defaced the website with false news of Steve Job’s death that read “STEVE JOBS JUST DIED.” The news media speculated that the hacker was associated with Anonymous and 4chan .
  • In September 2011, CBS reported via one of its Twitter accounts that Steve Jobs had passed from a heart attack. The post was removed within minutes with a formal retraction, but not before the information was re-tweeted by some of the account’s 11,000+ followers.

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