I was going to write a post tonight about October and breast cancer awareness month. Seems ironic now considering that, less than two hours ago, I found out Steve Jobs passed away. He died at the age of 56 after battling pancreatic cancer.
We may never know how long he suffered from the disease. He had a Whipple procedure for a pancreatic tumor in 2004. Questions about his health swirled until stepped down as Apple's CEO back in August. Seven years. That's an incredibly long period of time for someone with pancreatic cancer to survive (if he's had it this entire time). The 5-year survival rate for someone with the lowest stage of pancreatic cancer? Just 37%. It is the 4th leading cause of cancer-related deaths. Unfortunately, cancer touches so many of us now. I'm not sure there is anyone in the world who can honestly say their life is unaffected by cancer.
There are not many people who can say their life was unaffected by Steve Jobs.
He was a visionary. I'm not sure there will ever be another person like him - someone with all the qualities of a true leader: passionate, intelligent, strategic, innovative, and now legendary. He was wealthy and likeable (to most). It's not often you see those two traits go hand-in-hand. No one can deny that he was a master of his craft, a craft that went beyond our beloved Macs, iPads, or iPhones. Steve Jobs changed the way we think of design, technology, education, business. He changed . . . everything. He was one of a kind.
And he was taken far too soon by a disease that, in 2011, should not be taking people anymore.
Rest in Peace, Steve Jobs. With everything you've left behind, I can assure you - you'll never be forgotten.
"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. 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."
- Steve Jobs, Stanford Commencement Address, June 12, 2005