Speculation and rumors about Steve Jobs’ health have been making the rounds since people started noticing the fairly drastic change in his appearance over the last several months. The speculation was fueled even further when Apple announced that Steve would not be giving the keynote presentation at this Years Macworld conference (Jan. ’09).
In an effort to reassure the mac community (and the stock holders), Steve made a rare public announcement earlier this month saying he was suffering from a nutritional deficiency due to a hormone imbalance, and that he would be fine. More public comments were give by Apple’s board of directors echoing the comments by Steve.
Apparently, that information was either not entirely accurate, or the situation has changed, because Steve Jobs announced today (in an email to all Apple employees) that he would be taking a 6 month medical leave of absence:
I am sure all of you saw my letter last week sharing something very personal with the Apple community. Unfortunately, the curiosity over my personal health continues to be a distraction not only for me and my family, but everyone else at Apple as well. In addition, during the past week I have learned that my health-related issues are more complex than I originally thought.
In order to take myself out of the limelight and focus on my health, and to allow everyone at Apple to focus on delivering extraordinary products, I have decided to take a medical leave of absence until the end of June.
I have asked Tim Cook to be responsible for Apple’s day to day operations, and I know he and the rest of the executive management team will do a great job. As CEO, I plan to remain involved in major strategic decisions while I am out. Our board of directors fully supports this plan.
I look forward to seeing all of you this summer.
I’m not exactly sure how to react to this news, other than to say I send all my best wishes to Steve and his family. I hope everything turns out OK, and we really do see him again in June. Take care, Steve.