Think Different: Apple Visionary Steve Jobs Has Died
Apple’s co-founder and widely regarded visionary Steve Jobs, died in Palo Alto, Calif. on Wednesday. The 56-year-old, who had recently resigned as chief executive of Apple Inc, was battling pancreatic cancer and had received a liver transplant in 2009.
Jobs is credited with forever transforming the personal computer industry and shaping the digital age for an entire generation through the company he founded with Steve Wozniak in a Silicon Valley garage in 1976. Whether it was iBooks, iPods, iPhones or iPads, Apple’s brand loyalty and fanaticism was unlike anything else, with store openings drawings thousands, creating lines as long as half a mile, with some fans using the store setting to propose marriage.
While his ingenious marketing and contributions to technology catapulted him to heroic heights, Jobs’ beginnings are much more humble. The son of Abdulfattah Jandali, a Syrian who met his biological mother Joanne Simpson while studying political science, Jobs was adopted and raised by Paul Jobs, a machinist and his Armenian wife, accountant Clara Hagopian. Hagopian’s family immigrated to the U.S. following the 1915 Armenian Genocide, where 1.5 million Armenians died, from Turkey’s Malatya province. The Armenian-related connection of Jobs is revealed in a new biography by Walter Isaccson, due out next month. The book reportedly says that Clara’s father Louis Hagopian was born in Malatya in 1894 and her mother, Victoria Artinian, was born in Izmir in the same year. Both Paul and Clara are deceased.
Although part-Syrian and recently referred to as “The Most Famous Arab in the World,” Jobs didn’t know much about his biological parents until he was in his 20s. Jandali, who is vice president of a Reno Casino told the New York Post in August, regrets never having a relationship with the son he says he learned to have fathered only recently. The pair had never spoken, with Jandali blaming his Syrian pride to not being prepared to pick up the phone to call him.
“Now I just live in hope that, before it is too late, he will reach out to me, because even to have just one coffee with him just once would make me a very happy man,” he said.
Jobs’ life seemed to mirror his biological parents, as his girlfriend, painter Chrisann Brennan gave birth to a girl in 1978, which Jobs denied to have fathered, claiming he was sterile. He later acknowledged Lisa Brennan-Jobs as his daughter. Jobs and Laurene Powell, whom he married in 1991, have a son and two daughters.
In a widely popular address at Stanford in 2005, Jobs spoke about the limitations of life and encouraged students to have the courage to follow their heart and intuition. “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,” he said. “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.”
Bill Gates, CEO of Microsoft and sometimes-rival released a statement saying he was truly saddened to learn of Jobs’ death.
“For those of us lucky enough to get to work with Steve, it’s been an insanely great honor.”
His passing also elicited remarks from President Obama, who said that Jobs “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.”