Steve Jobs, the visionary founder of Apple and a luminary in the technology industry, has passed away following a long bout with pancreatic cancer. Jobs was first diagnosed with the illness in 2003. After several years of successfully fighting the disease, Jobs’ health waned in recent years and he was forced to resign from his position as CEO of Apple in August.

Even as a young man, Jobs lived by his future company’s motto of “Think Different.” Born in San Francisco in 1954 and raised in the Silicon Valley, Jobs began his career as a teenager working for Hewlett Packard. While there, Jobs met future Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak and the pair began to put together the pieces of what would become one of the most celebrated computer companies in history.

Beginning with the Apple I in 1976 and then the Apple II in 1977, Jobs and Wozniak made a bold push into the personal computing industry, earning Jobs his first $100 million by the age of 25. However, Jobs was far from satisfied with financial rewards, opting to continue his work with the development of the Macintosh computer.

The Macintosh, which pioneered the concept of mouse-controlled computing via a graphic user interface, was a huge mass market success, but it didn’t keep Jobs from losing his job one year later in an executive power struggle. Jobs went on to found the computer company NeXT. He also purchased the nascent computer film division of Lucasfilm, Ltd., which would eventually become an animation studio named Pixar (maybe you’ve heard of them).

After declining business, Apple acquired NeXT in 1996 and brought Jobs back into the company. From there, Jobs managed to reinvigorate Apple with several new products, beginning with the iMac desktop computer. In 2001, Jobs directed the creation of Apple iTunes and the iPod, effectively transforming the way we consume music. The iPhone and iPad came in 2007 and 2010, respectively, each having huge impacts on mobile technology.

In a statement on its website, Apple acknowledged Jobs’ long-lasting legacy on the company and on the world.

Apple has lost a visionary and creative genuis, and the world has lost an amazing human being. Those of us who have been fortunate enough to know and work with Steve have lost a dear friend and an inspiring mentor. Steve leaves behind a company that only he could have built, and his spirit will forever be the foundation of Apple.

Indeed, it’s not only Apple users that should be saddened by Jobs’ passing. If you’ve  ever cried at a Pixar movie, connected with friends and family over your MacBook, or jammed to tunes on your iPod, you have Jobs to thank. His vision and passion will be greatly missed by the entire world.

If you’d like to share your thoughts about Jobs legacy or simply offer condolences, Apple encourages you to send an e-mail to rememberingsteve@apple.com.

R.I.P. Steven Paul Jobs (February 24, 1955 – October 5, 2011) – thank you for your innovative mind.