Silicon Valley legend Steve Jobs on Wednesday resigned as chief executive of Apple Inc in a stunning move that ended his 14-year reign at the technology giant he co-founded in a garage.
Apple shares were suspended from trade before the announcement. They had gained 0.7 percent to close at $376.18.
The pancreatic cancer survivor and industry icon, who has been on medical leave for an undisclosed condition since January 17, will be replaced by COO and longtime heir apparent Tim Cook.
"I have always said if there ever came a day when I could no longer meet my duties and expectations as Apple's CEO, I would be the first to let you know. Unfortunately, that day has come," he said in a brief letter announcing his resignation.
The 55-year-old CEO had briefly emerged from his medical leave in March to unveil the latest version of the iPad and later to attend a dinner hosted by President Barack Obama for technology leaders in Silicon Valley.
Jobs' often-gaunt appearance has sparked questions about his health and his ability to continue at Apple.
"I will say to investors: don't panic and remain calm, it's the right thing to do. Steve will be chairman and Cook is CEO," said BGC Financial analyst Colin Gillis.