Steve Jobs received a liver transplant 2 months ago

Yesterday, the Wall Street Journal reported that Jobs had received and is recuperating from a liver transplant he received in Tennessee 2 months ago, a state the Journal notes has a short waiting list for those in need of livers.

In mid-January, Apple CEO Steve Jobs informed Apple employees that he would be taking a 6 month leave of absence from the company he helped found in 1976.  At the time, Jobs' noticeable weight loss had caused some to assume that his pancreatic cancer, which was cured in 2004, had returned.  Understandably, Jobs and Apple remained quiet on the matter, asserting that Jobs' health was a private matter.Two weeks before-hand, Jobs noted in a letter to the "Apple Community" that doctors had narrowed down the cause of his weight loss to a hormonal imbalance that prohibited his body from properly absorbing nutrients.  In his subsequent letter to Apple employees, Jobs wrote that his health condition was more complex than he had initially thought, forcing him to take time off from Apple so that he could focus more fully on his health.  In his place, Jobs handed over the CEO reigns to COO Tim Cook, who since then, has been responsible for handling the day to day operations at Apple.In Jobs' absence, speculation about what illness Jobs was suffering from ran rampant.  The push for information about his health, typically from pundits and investors, were often tempered by pleas that the public should respect Jobs' privacy.  But with Jobs set to return in just a few days, news of what afflicted Jobs in his 6 month absence from Apple is starting to emerge.Yesterday, the Wall Street Journal reported that Jobs had received and is recuperating from a liver transplant he received in Tennessee 2 months ago, a state the Journal notes has a short waiting list for those in need of livers.  Curiously, the Journal doesn't cite any sources for the report, yet relays the information as confirmed fact.  This has led some to speculate that perhaps the source for the story was Apple itself. The 5-year survival rate for liver transplant patients hovers around 75%, while the recovery time for the procedure is "relatively fast."  Still, Jobs is being advised by his doctors that he should make a relatively slow transition back to Apple and not take on too much too quickly.Rumors that Jobs was contemplating a liver transplant first emerged in early January, with speculative reports that Jobs had moved to Memphis for treatment surfacing in mid-April.

But even in his absence, Jobs remained heavily involved in Apple's long term strategic planning, and reportedly even made a surprise visit to the Apple campus 3 weeks ago to meet with other Apple executives.

Going forward, it will be interesting to see what Apple or Steve Jobs choose to disclose to the public about his health.  In the past, both parties have come under heavy criticism for not being upfront with investors about health related issues.

Hopefully, though, investors will retain some semblance of tact and not make unfair demands that Steve Jobs needs to make his health and recovery a public matter.  If anything, his time away from Apple over the last few months has given other Apple executives the opportunity to step into the spotlight, and has shown that Apple is a well-oiled machine that can function just as smoothly with or without Steve Jobs at the helm.

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