Pixar founder and Disney Board member and largest shareholder Steve Jobs died today at 56. Jobs had been battling pancreatic cancer for years. He’s widely credited with completely transforming four different industries (computing, animation, music, and phones).
According to the Wall Street Journal his family said he “died peacefully today surrounded by his family…We know many of you will mourn with us, and we ask that you respect our privacy during our time of grief”.
Apple, another company he co-founded and led as CEO until earlier this year, “Apple has lost a visionary and creative genius, and the world has lost an amazing human being,” Mr. Cook said in a letter to employees. “We will honor his memory by dedicating ourselves to continuing the work he loved so much”.
Disney’s CEO Bob Iger said, “Steve Jobs was a great friend as well as a trusted advisor. His legacy will extend far beyond the products he created or the businesses he built. It will be the millions of people he inspired, the lives he changed, and the culture he defined. Steve was such an ‘original’, with a thoroughly creative, imaginative mind that defined an era. Despite all he accomplished, it feels like he was just getting started. With his passing the world has lost a rare original, Disney has lost a member of our family, and I have lost a great friend. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Laurene and his children during this difficult time”.
President Obama said, “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…”
John Lasseter and Ed Catmull (pictured to the right and left of Jobs) said, “Steve Jobs was an extraordinary visionary, our very dear friend and the guiding light of the Pixar family. He saw the potential of what Pixar could be before the rest of us, and beyond what anyone ever imagined. Steve took a chance on us and believed in our crazy dream of making computer animated films; the one thing he always said was to simply ‘make it great.’ He is why Pixar turned out the way we did and his strength, integrity and love of life has made us all better people. He will forever be a part of Pixar’s DNA. Our hearts go out to his wife Laurene and their children during this incredibly difficult time”.
Jobs bought the computer graphics division of Lucasfilm in 1986 and turned it into a computer hardware company. In a bid to demonstrate their capabilities John Lasseter created animated short films. These demos moved the company into a new direction — producing commercials for other companies. Eventually the animation team was given a chance to prove themselves on a feature film, the result of which was Toy Story. After a decade of nonstop big screen successes the Walt Disney Company bought Pixar in 2006 for $7.4 billion, making Jobs Disney’s largest shareholder.