Palo Alto resident and former Apple CEO Steve Jobs died this afternoon at the age of 56. His death was announced by Apple in a statement, and news of his passing spread quickly throughout his neighborhood.
Despite the police cars and Apple security, the street was hushed as neighbors passed by Jobs' storybook home to leave flowers and messages in his honor.
Meanwhile, his family released the following statement:
"Steve died peacefully today surrounded by his family.
In his public life, Steve was known as a visionary; in his private life, he cherished his family. We are thankful to the many people who have shared their wishes and prayers during the last year of Steve’s illness; a website will be provided for those who wish to offer tributes and memories.
We are grateful for the support and kindness of those who share our feelings for Steve. We know many of you will mourn with us, and we ask that you respect our privacy during our time of grief."
Palo Alto Mayor Sid Espinosa said Job's passing will have ripples both locally and around the world.
“We’re saddened to learn about Steve’s passing and our hearts go out to his family in this time of mourning,” he said. "Today we lost a great mind and an incredible innovator and entrepreneur and a real leader of his generation whose work will have an impact for generations to come."
A long-time Palo Alto resident, Jobs has been in poor health since having surgery for pancreatic cancer.
Palo Alto Patch columnist Lisen Stromberg wrote this firsthand account of .
Apple co-founder and friend Steve Wozniak was equally struck by the news. “I feel shock and I hope I can have enough time to collect my feelings and really get in touch with them," said the Los Gatos resident over the phone.
Flavio Bonomi, vice president of and a neighbor who attended fundraisers at Steve Jobs' house, said this:
"I’m feeling sad and honored to have lived close to him. He really made a decision to live in the context of this neighborhood without living in an ivory tower."
“Sometimes when he was healthier, I would see him around roller skating," said neighbor Gordon Reade. He would also see him at Whole Foods, and described him as friendly. “He was a very regular sort of guy,"
"[His death] was expected, but it was still very sad. He was a credit to the Silicon Valley and to the entire world," he added, a neighbor. His mother, Gloria Reade, said she remember when Jobs moved into his house. Jobs bought his house for $2 million and then demolished an adjacent home so he could have a garden.
A group of young fans soon began writing messages to Jobs on the sidewalk in front of his home using Sharpies.
Apolline Arnaud and her friend Frida Schaefer Bastian began the trend. Asked why she thought Steve Jobs was so special, the 12-year-old Arnaud said simply, "Because I like Apple products. He changed the world and he's a genius."
Bastian said, "With everything he did, he impacted so many people's lives, and with his thoughts and brains he changed the world.”
“We really [feel] sick for this special person who died,” said Danny Kuo. His daughter, Jasmine Sun, also left a message on the sidewalk.
“I feel odd. I don’t think anyone’s really grieving,” said recent college grad Alice Badger, who went to camp with his son many years ago and lives nearby. “I think we’re really proud of him.”
A black and white photograph depicting Jobs now adorns the home page of Apple.
Jobs was fundamental in the design and popularization of the personal computer, graphical user interface, the mouse, and other technologies that have fundamentally altered human society, such as the iPhone and iTunes.
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