After battling a rare form of pancreatic cancer for several years, Apple co-founder and technology visionary Steve Jobs passed away Wednesday night at the age of 56.
Jobs co-founded Apple in 1976 and is credited for revolutionizing computing, design, entertainment and communication through Apple products like the iPhone, iPod and iPad. Jobs also headed the Pixar animation company, which has produced critically acclaimed animated features for more than 15 years. Jobs resigned as Apple CEO in August due to his ailing health.
In a 2005 commencement speech delivered to a graduating class at Stanford University, Jobs shared his philosophies on life and his work in the face of his illness:
When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: “If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you’ll most certainly be right.” It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” And whenever the answer has been “no” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.
Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.
Tributes to Jobs have poured in since the news of his death. Among them:
“Steve Jobs, 1955-2011” from Wired Magazine
“Timeline: Steve Jobs, the Man at Apple’s Core” from NPR
“Steve Jobs and the idea of letting go” from the Washington Post
“Steve Jobs: The Beginning, 1955-1985,” “Steve Jobs: The Wilderness, 1985-1997” and “Steve Jobs: The Return, 1997-2011” from BusinessWeek