Steve Jobs’ last words and the email Steve Jobs sent to himself before his passing
October marks the 12th anniversary of the passing of Steve Jobs, a visionary entrepreneur and co-founder of Apple Inc. Born on February 24, 1955, Jobs was a pioneer in the world of technology and design known for his relentless pursuit of innovation. He played a pivotal role in shaping the modern era of personal computing, mobile devices, and digital entertainment.
His iconic products, such as the iPhone, iPod, and MacBook, not only revolutionized industries but also became cultural phenomena. Beyond his technical prowess, Jobs’ dedication to elegant and user-friendly design set a high standard for the tech industry. Despite his complex personality and demanding leadership style, he left an indelible mark on the world, inspiring countless individuals to think differently and chase their dreams.
Steve Jobs died of pancreatic cancer at the age of 56, leaving behind discussions and debates about his final words. However, in over a decade since his death, social media has been abuzz with fabricated tales and fictitious essays falsely attributed to Steve Jobs, alleging to contain his final thoughts on wealth and the meaning of life. One of the false essays begins with:
“In other eyes, my life is the essence of success, but aside from work, I have a little joy, and in the end wealth is just a fact of life to which I am accustomed. At this moment, lying on the bed, sick and remembering all my life, I realize that all my recognition and wealth that I have is meaningless in the face of imminent death.”
However, according to his authorized biography by Walter Isaacson, also confirmed by Reuters, Steve Jobs’ last words were: “Oh wow. Oh wow. Oh wow.” These words were spoken by Jobs as he looked at his family members in his final moments.
Mona Simpson, the sister of Steve Jobs, gave a eulogy (published by the New York Times) on October 16, 2011, at a memorial service at the Memorial Church of Stanford University. At the very end of the eulogy, Simpson said:
“Steve’s final words, hours earlier, were monosyllables, repeated three times. Before embarking, he’d looked at his sister Patty, then for a long time at his children, then at his life’s partner, Laurene, and then over their shoulders past them. Steve’s final words were: OH WOW. OH WOW. OH WOW.”
In addition to this poignant moment, Jobs’ philosophical reflections in his final days were revealed in an email he wrote to himself. This email was made public by his widow, Laurene Powell Jobs, following his passing on October 5, 2011. In an email, dated September 2, 2010, Jobs wrote to himself:
“I grow little of the food I eat, and of the little I do grow, I do not breed or perfect the seeds.”
“I do not make my own clothing. I speak a language I did not invent or refine,” he continued. “I did not discover the mathematics I use… I am moved by music I did not create myself.”
The email continued in a similar vein as Jobs reflected on the everyday things he uses – all invented by someone else. In one particularly poignant sentence, he wrote: “When I needed medical attention, I was helpless to help myself survive.”
Toward the end of the email, the Apple co-founder expressed his love and admiration for humankind,
“I did not invent the transistor, the microprocessor, object oriented programming, or most of the technology I work with. I love and admire my species, living and dead, and am totally dependent on them for my life and well being,” he concluded.
Below is a screenshot of the email.