Shortly after, he was appointed interim CEO and subsequently CEO. He was well known for drawing a $1 salary, but received other benefits including Apple shares and a Gulfstream jet.
Mr Jobs oversaw Apple's renaissance, which revolved around the simplification of the product line into four quadrants - consumer vs professional, and portable vs desktop - and a new focus on industrial design that differentiated the company's products from the traditional 'beige boxes'.
The introduction of the iPod in 2001 and subsequently the iTunes Store marked the real beginning of Apple's transition from a computer company to a more broadly based business. It also marked the start of a more integrated business model where Apple was selling content as well as hardware, but perhaps most significantly doing so by providing a user experience that customers warmed to.
In 2010, a web site associated with the Wall Street Journal gave Mr Jobs the title 'CEO of the Decade'.
In 2004, Mr Jobs was treated surgically for pancreatic cancer. He returned to work, but in January 2009 took a medical leave of absence. Details were initially hard to come by, which caused some investors concern.
He again returned to his duties after a liver transplant, but in January 2011 he took an indefinite medical leave of absence, and then COO Tim Cook over Mr Jobs' day to day responsibilities. In August he resigned as CEO, and Mr Cook was formally appointed as his successor.
When Mr Jobs was trying to bring then PepsiCo executive John Sculley to Apple, he reportedly asked "Do you want to sell sugar water for the rest of your life, or do you want to come with me and change the world?" There is little doubt that Mr Jobs changed the world.