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Apple: Steve Jobs has passed away (updated)

The Associated Press moved a bulletin at 7:35 p.m. stating that Steve Jobs has passed away. We at TUAW send our heartfelt sympathy to Jobs' family in their time of grief, and thank Steve for all of the hard work he's done that's touched every aspect of our lives.

Update (7:45 p.m. ET): Apple has confirmed that Jobs passed away today without listing a specific cause, but he had been battling pancreatic cancer and related illnesses for several years. He was 56 years old. Apple has encouraged those who want to share memories of him to email rememberingsteve@apple.com. Feel free to post your memories in the comments.

Update (7:55 p.m. ET): In a brief statement, Apple's Board of Directors said, "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." Apple.com has changed its front page to a memorial to Jobs.

Update (8:05 p.m. ET): Tim Cook, who recently took over Jobs' role as Apple's CEO and unveiled the iPhone 4S on Tuesday, sent an email to employees confirming that Jobs passed away early Wednesday. As reported to Ars Technica, "No words can adequately express our sadness at Steve's death or our gratitude for the opportunity to work with him," he said. Apple is planning a celebration of Jobs' life soon.

Update (8:20 p.m. ET): Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates released a statement talking about his nearly 30-year relationship with Jobs saying, "The 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 honor. I will miss Steve immensely."

Update (8:25 p.m. ET): A statement from Jobs' family says that he passed away peacefully surrounded by his family. "In his public life, Steve was known as a visionary; in his private life, he cherished his family. We are thankful to the many people who have shared their wishes and prayers during the last year of Steve's illness; a website will be provided for those who wish to offer tributes and memories. We are grateful for the support and kindness of those who share our feelings for Steve. We know many of you will mourn with us, and we ask that you respect our privacy during our time of grief."

Update (9:30 p.m. ET): US President Barack Obama has released the following statement on the White House blog:

Michelle and I are saddened to learn of the passing of Steve Jobs. Steve was among the greatest of American innovators - brave enough to think differently, bold enough to believe he could change the world, and talented enough to do it.

By building one of the planet's most successful companies from his garage, he exemplified the spirit of American ingenuity. By making computers personal and putting the internet in our pockets, he made the information revolution not only accessible, but intuitive and fun. And by turning his talents to storytelling, he has brought joy to millions of children and grownups alike. Steve was fond of saying that he lived every day like it was his last. Because he did, he transformed our lives, redefined entire industries, and achieved one of the rarest feats in human history: he changed the way each of us sees the world.

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. Michelle and I send our thoughts and prayers to Steve's wife Laurene, his family, and all those who loved him.

Update (10:05 p.m. ET): We've heard that Apple Stores across the world intend to darken the lights behind their logos until after Jobs's memorial service. Flags at the Cupertino HQ campus are at half-staff. Both Google and Microsoft have linked to tributes to Jobs. Many reports on Twitter indicate that people have gathered both at Apple's Cupertino campus and at several retail stores in order to pay their respects.

Jobs is survived by his wife of 20 years, Laurene Powell Jobs, and their three children. He is also survived by his daughter Lisa, from a previous relationship, and by his two sisters Patti Jobs and Mona Simpson.

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