Steve Jobs announced Monday morning that he is taking an indefinite medical leave from his duties as CEO of Apple. This will be Jobs' third major medical leave from the company since being diagnosed with a rare form of pancreatic cancer in 2003.
In 2004, Jobs underwent a complicated but successful surgery to remove a tumor in his pancreas, and was back at work within a few months. While the procedure is highly successful for the form of pancreatic cancer that Jobs had, it also removes much of the pancreas and some of the digestive tract. This can lead to further complications, such as the dramatic and visible weight loss Jobs' suffered in 2008.
He went on a six-month medical leave again in 2009, and it was later revealed that Jobs had received a liver transplant.
Jobs' last medical leave happened right before Apple's last Macworld attendance in 2009. This latest absence comes just as Apple is about to launch the iPhone on Verizon in the US and is expected to announce new products, including a new iPad, in the coming months.
During the previous two medical absences, Jobs left the day-to-day operations of Apple to COO Tim Cook. Since then, Cook has taken on more responsibilities that were once under Jobs' exclusive purview, and Cook is once again taking over while Jobs is away.
Here's the text of the e-mail Jobs sent to Apple's staff:
At my request, the board of directors has granted me a medical leave of absence so I can focus on my health. I will continue as CEO and be involved in major strategic decisions for the company.
I have asked Tim Cook to be responsible for all of Apple’s day to day operations. I have great confidence that Tim and the rest of the executive management team will do a terrific job executing the exciting plans we have in place for 2011.
I love Apple so much and hope to be back as soon as I can. In the meantime, my family and I would deeply appreciate respect for our privacy.