Apple CEO Steve Jobs has been suffering from a hormone imbalance that's led to a gradual but steady weight loss for most of the past year.
That news was released Monday via a "letter from Apple CEO Steve Jobs" addressed to the "Apple community," and distributed via e-mail by PR Newswire, a news release distribution service. Its Web site has the text of the document, and a brief statement of support from Apple's board of directors.
As of this writing, there's nothing posted on Apple's official Web site, and Apple PR officials have not yet responded to requests to confirm the letter's authenticity.
PR Newswire has a statement of support from the Apple board of directors: "Apple is very lucky to have Steve as its leader and CEO, and he deserves our complete and unwavering support during his recuperation. He most certainly has that from Apple and its Board," according to the brief statement.
The e-mail comes on the eve of the annual Macworld Expo, where for the first time in about 10 years, Jobs will be absent as the event's keynote speaker. The e-mail says this decision has set off "another flurry of rumors about my health, with some even publishing stories of me on my deathbed." (More Macworld coverage here.)
Jobs' health has been the subject of persistent and sometimes obsessive speculation for the past year.
In the e-mail, Jobs says he has been losing weight throughout 2008, a condition that has baffled his doctors. Several weeks ago, according to the e-mail, "I decided that getting to the root cause of this and reversing it needed to become my #1 priority.
The condition, according to the e-mail is a "hormone imbalance that has been robbing me of the proteins my body needs to be healthy." The e-mail goes on to say that the remedy for this nutritional problem is "relatively simple and straightforward, and I've already begun treatment. But, just like I didn't lose this much weight and body mass in a week or a month, my doctors expect it will take me until late this Spring to regain it."
Jobs will continue as Apple CEO during this recovery, according to the e-mail. "I will be the first one to step up and tell our Board of Directors if I can no longer continue to fulfill my duties as Apple's CEO."