I really thought we’d all have to wait until the biography on Steve Jobs is released in a couple of weeks before we learned any intimate details about the final days of his life, but the New York Times has a piece out today that sheds some light on them. Apparently, Jobs knew he was close to death way back in February, but decided to keep working until he couldn’t physically do it anymore, seeing old friends and close acquaintances along the way to say goodbye.
In February, Steven P. Jobs had learned that, after years of fighting cancer, his time was becoming shorter. He quietly told a few acquaintances, and they, in turn, whispered to others. And so a pilgrimage began.
The calls trickled in at first. Just a few, then dozens, and in recent weeks, a nearly endless stream of people who wanted a few moments to say goodbye, according to people close to Mr. Jobs. Most were intercepted by his wife, Laurene. She would apologetically explain that he was too tired to receive many visitors. In his final weeks, he became so weak that it was hard for him to walk up the stairs of his own home anymore, she confided to one caller.
Mr. Jobs spent his final weeks — as he had spent most of his life — in tight control of his choices. He invited a close friend, the physician Dean Ornish, a preventive health advocate, to join him for sushi at one of his favorite restaurants, Jin Sho in Palo Alto. He said goodbye to longtime colleagues including the venture capitalist John Doerr, the Apple board member Bill Campbell and the Disney chief executive Robert A. Iger. He offered Apple’s executives advice on unveiling the iPhone 4S, which occurred on Tuesday. He spoke to his biographer, Walter Isaacson. He started a new drug regime, and told some friends that there was reason for hope.
But, mostly, he spent time with his wife and children — who will now oversee a fortune of at least $6.5 billion, and, in addition to their grief, take on responsibility for tending to the legacy of someone who was as much a symbol as a man.
The piece goes on to note that Jobs was heartbroken, as most of us would be, that we would have to leave the people he cared about to fend for themselves.
“Steve’s concerns these last few weeks were for people who depended on him: the people who worked for him at Apple and his four children and his wife,” said Mona Simpson, Mr. Jobs’s sister. “His tone was tenderly apologetic at the end. He felt terrible that he would have to leave us.”
As news of the seriousness of his illness became more widely known, Mr. Jobs was asked to attend farewell dinners and to accept various awards.He turned down the offers. On the days that he was well enough to go to Apple’s offices, all he wanted afterward was to return home and have dinner with his family. When one acquaintance became too insistent on trying to send a gift to thank Mr. Jobs for his friendship, he was asked to stop calling. Mr. Jobs had other things to do before time ran out.
Now excuse me while I go choke up in the corner a bit.
(Pic via Mac Rumors)