Report: Steve Jobs recuperating from liver transplant

Sat, Jun 20, 2009


With Steve Jobs poised to return to the helm at Apple later this month, more detailed reports about what prompted Jobs to take a voluntary leave of absence from Apple are starting to emerge.

The Wall Street Journal is now reporting that Steve Jobs has been recuperating from a liver transplant conducted 2 months ago in Tennessee, a state where the waiting list for livers is unusually short.  While the public has been largely left in the dark regarding Jobs’ condition, the article notes that a select few members from Apple’s board were aware of the procedure and have been receiving weekly status reports on Jobs’ health from his doctor.

Rumors of a liver transplant first surfaced in early January when word got out that Jobs was considering the procedure in the wake of complications from his pancreatic cancer treatment from 2004.  At the time, Jobs attributed his widely publicized weight loss to a simple hormonal imbalance, but soon wrote in a letter to Apple employees explaining that his condition was more complex than he initially had thought.  He subsequently took a voluntary leave of absence from Apple with plans to return by the end of June.

Though Jobs is still planning to return to Apple in just a few weeks, his transition back to CEO might be more of a gradual process, in large part due to the advice of his physicians who are recommending a slow transition back into the workforce.

When he does return, Mr. Jobs may be encouraged by his physicians to initially “work part-time for a month or two,” a person familiar with the thinking at Apple said. That may lead Tim Cook, Apple’s chief operating officer, to take “a more encompassing role,” this person said. The person added that Mr. Cook may be appointed to Apple’s board in the not-too-distant future.

Cook, of course, is Apple’s current COO who was chosen by Jobs to be Apple’s interim CEO and handle its day to day business functions in Jobs’ absence.

Regarding his medical condition, the Journal writes that the specific type of pancreatic cancer Jobs had usually “metastasize in another organ during a patient’s lifetime, and that the organ is usually the liver.”  Notably, the 5-year survival rate for patients who undergo a liver transplant is around 75%.


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