Hard to understand, difficult to work with and deemed irreplaceable by many Apple fans and investors, Steve Jobs has made a life defying conventions and expectations.
And despite years of signs of poor health, his resignation (he resigns effective immediately as Apple CEO) as chief executive of Apple Inc caused a global gasp as the world contemplated the future of an icon and the company he symbolizes.
Steve Jobs is the most successful CEO in the U.S. of the last 25 years, said Google Inc Chairman Eric Schmidt, who used to sit on Apple's board but stepped down because of overlapping business interests.
He uniquely combined an artist's touch and an engineer's vision to build an extraordinary company, one of the greatest American leaders in history, Schmidt said in a statement.
A college dropout, Jobs floated through India in search of spiritual guidance prior to founding Apple -- a name he suggested to his friend and co-founder Steve Wozniak after a visit to a commune in Oregon he referred to as an apple orchard.
With his passion for minimalist design and marketing genius, Jobs changed the course of personal computing during two stints at Apple and transformed the mobile market.
The iconic iPod, the iPhone -- dubbed the Jesus phone for its quasi-religious following -- and the iPad are the creation of a man known for his near-obsessive control of the product development process.
Most mere mortals cannot understand a person like Steve Jobs, Guy Kawasaki, a former Apple employee who considers Jobs the greatest CEO in the history of man, said recently. He's just got a different operating system.
Charismatic, visionary, ruthless, perfectionist, dictator - these are some of the words that people use to describe the larger-than-life figure of Jobs, who may be the biggest dreamer the technology world has ever known, but also a hard-edged businessman and negotiator through and through.
Steve Jobs is the business genius of our generation, former eBay Inc chief Meg Whitman said recently. His contributions to Apple, his contributions to technology, frankly his contributions to America, are unparalleled in the business world. He is amazing.
Former nemesis Bill Gates, the co-founder of