Steve Jobs, who led the PC and digital lifestyle revolutions, has died at the age of 56.

Apple’s web site today is given over to a pic of Jobs, with the simple caption: Steve Jobs; 1955 – 2011.

The company’s tribute to its co-founder and CEO reads: “Apple has lost a visionary and creative genius, and the world has lost an amazing human being. Those of us who have been fortunate enough to know and work with Steve have lost a dear friend and an inspiring mentor. Steve leaves behind a company that only he could have built, and his spirit will forever be the foundation of Apple.”

Apple has invited people to send their memories of Jobs to

Jobs has had a long battle with cancer, having had tumours removed from his pancreas and receiving a liver transplant, before succumbing yesterday.

Jobs was the co-founder, with this friend Steve Wozniak, of Apple Computer. The company was set up in 1976 from the spare room in Jobs’ parents’ house in Palo Alto, California, later moving to their garage. The two were 21 and 25 years’ old at the time.

While Wozniak was the engineer behind the early Apple products, Jobs was the iconic marketing force from the beginning, and he retained this charisma and appeal to the end.

Jobs is best known today for the must-have iPod, iPhone and iPad products, but he has been leading the technology revolution since the 1970s.

Apple’s first product, the Apple 1, was actually a kit, which enthusiasts could assemble themselves, but was quickly followed, in 1977, by the Apple II.

Widely acknowledge as the first true personal computer, the Apple II moved out of the purely hobbyist market and became mainstream. The Apple IIe was even more popular and became the computer of choice for high schools and colleges around the world.

At this time, Apple was not officially represented in South Africa, but products were available through distributor Base 2.

Following numerous disagreements with then Apple president John Scully, Jobs left the company he founded in 1985, relinquishing all his shares but one, which allowed him to attend shareholders’ meetings, and vote. He went on to found NeXT Computer and drive Pixar to success, returning to Apple in 1996.

The rest, as they say, is history, with Jobs presiding over an ever-more successful Apple as it launched its hugely successful line of “i” products.

Having led the PC revolution, Jobs was also at the forefront of the digital lifestyle revolution, with the iPod and iTunes forever changing the way people buy and listen to music. The iPhone and iPad have continued this revolution and now include all forms of media and entertainment.