Steve Jobs, the Apple founder and former CEO who invented and masterfully marketed ever-sleeker gadgets that transformed everyday technology, from the personal computer to the iPod and iPhone, has died. He was 56.
Apple announced his death without giving a specific cause.
"We are deeply saddened to announce that Steve Jobs passed away today," the company said in a brief statement Wednesday.
"Steve's brilliance, passion and energy were the source of countless innovations that enrich and improve all of our lives. The world is immeasurably better because of Steve."
The company is based in Cupertino, Calif., but the Apple fandom was widespread. In New York City alone, there are five Apple stores, and a sixth is in the works at Grand Central Terminal.
At the Apple store on 14th Street, a makeshift memorial was set up within an hour after the announcement of Jobs' death. It includes flowers, candles, notes and real apples _ some with a bite taken out of them.
A sign reading "iThankYou" was posted on the wall outside the doors, and candles were lit on the ground by the entrance.
"I'm really very sad about it," Andrea Mollica said as she came out of the store. "The guy was a genius. I'm grateful to him every day I use my computer and my Nano. He made my life easier and enjoyable. He's made it fun for me."
Jewelry designer Mona Nagib says she stopped on her way to work to mark "the passing of an icon."
Nagib says she remembers seeing the first mouse as a little girl. Her father told her it was an invention that would change the world.
Some New Yorkers rushed to other Apple stores to mourn the death of the tech giant.
Susan Kramer, the mother of a teenage boy, told NBC New York, "He's been a real hero to my son. He said he wanted to grow up to be Steve Jobs. He is very into technology, into filmmaking. He uses Apple. He lives and breathes Apple, and he really loves the inventions that Steve Jobs has come up with in his lifetime."
Laura Samuel said she hoped Jobs' death did not signal an end to the innovation and creative spirit he instilled in his company. "I hope his spirit will continue to live on and the company will continue to grow and give us all the great stuff we want," she said.
NBC New York Facebook friends also mourned Jobs.
"So sad. A true modern day pioneer. He will be sorely missed," wrote María Piñeiro Karczewski.
"May he rest in peace. He will never be forgotten. Everytime we pick up our iPods, iPhones, iPads or Mac computers we will always be index of Steve Jobs. An amazing man!" added Evelyn Rosado.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg said in a statement Wednesday that Jobs' "passionate belief in the power of technology to transform the way we live brought us more than smart phones and iPads: it brought knowledge and power that is reshaping the face of civilization."