Apple chief executive Steve Jobs, a cancer survivor, said he is taking medical leave until June, a move that sent the company’s shares plunging 7%.
Apple’s chief operating officer, Tim Cook, will take over Mr Jobs’ responsibilities while he is on leave, though Mr Jobs said he plans to remain involved in major strategic decisions.
The announcement marks a reversal from just a week ago, when Mr Jobs, 53, tried to assure investors and employees his recent weight loss was caused by an easily treatable hormone deficiency.
Apple CEO Steve Jobs illness
“The reason has been a mystery to me and my doctors,” Mr Jobs said in a statement last week.
Once tests revealed the problem, Mr Jobs said he began a “relatively simple and straightforward” treatment and insisted he would remain at Apple’s helm.
But investors weren’t reassured. Nor do Mr Jobs’ medical issues seem to be quite so simple.
“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,” Mr Jobs wrote in an e-mail to employees.
“In addition, during the past week I have learned that my health-related issues are more complex than I originally thought.”
Mr Jobs co-founded Apple with Steve Wozniak in 1976 at the dawn of the personal computer revolution.
© Press Association 2009
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