Steve Jobs Resigns As Apple CEO

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Steve Jobs. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

"I have always said if there ever came a day when I could no longer meet my duties and expectations as Apple’s CEO, I would be the first to let you know. Unfortunately, that day has come."

Sad news from Steve Jobs, who has kept his job as the head of Apple through a diagnosis of pancreatic cancer and a liver transplant, but said on Wednesday that he would step down with immediate effect as head of the world's biggest computer company. For a brief moment during the market gyrations last week, Apple was the most valuable company in the world, and during the debt-ceiling crisis, it had more cash on hand than the U.S. Treasury.

"I would like to serve, if the Board sees fit, as Chairman of the Board, director and Apple employee," Jobs said in his letter to Apple's board. "As far as my successor goes, I strongly recommend that we execute our succession plan and name Tim Cook as CEO of Apple."

Earlier this month, the publication date of a highly anticipated biography of Jobs by Walter Isaccson was moved up from March 2012 to November of this year. Jobs has been on medical leave since January, but has appeared in public to promote Apple products.

Jobs, 56, co-founded Apple with Steve Wozniak in 1976. He left the company in 1984 after losing a power struggle with the board, but returned in 1997 and drove Apple to new heights with the creation of the iPod, iPhone, and iPad. He also bought the company that became Pixar from George Lucas and eventually sold it to Disney, becoming Disney's largest individual shareholder in the process.

"I believe Apple's brightest and most innovative days are ahead of it. And I look forward to watching and contributing to its success in a new role," Jobs said.

Related: The iPhone Inaugurates a Dangerous Era for Apple Boss Steve Jobs [NYM]