In a move sure to send shockwaves across the digital and entertainment landscape, Steve Jobs has resigned as CEO of Apple, Inc.  In a letter to the Board of Apple and the Apple Community obtained by TechCrunch, Jobs remarked, "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."

The full transcript of Jobs' letter is as follows.

"To the Apple Board of Directors and the Apple Community:

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.

I hereby resign as CEO of Apple. I would like to serve, if the Board sees fit, as Chairman of the Board, director and Apple employee.

As far as my successor goes, I strongly recommend that we execute our succession plan and name Tim Cook as CEO of Apple.

I believe Apple’s brightest and most innovative days are ahead of it. And I look forward to watching and contributing to its success in a new role.

I have made some of the best friends of my life at Apple, and I thank you all for the many years of being able to work alongside you.

Steve"

No specific reason was given for his departure, but Jobs has been suffering from an unspecified illness for at least the past two years.  In 2004, he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and had surgery to remove a tumor.  Since then, his appearances at public events have been heavily scrutinized for signs of decline or recovery.

Apple confirmed that Jobs had stepped down and will now take on the less intense role of Chairman of the Board and that urrent Apple COO Tim Cook will replace him as CEO.

“Steve’s extraordinary vision and leadership saved Apple and guided it to its position as the world’s most innovative and valuable technology company,” said Art Levinson, Chairman of Genentech, on behalf of Apple's Board said in a release. “Steve has made countless contributions to Apple’s success, and he has attracted and inspired Apple’s immensely creative employees and world class executive team. In his new role as Chairman of the Board, Steve will continue to serve Apple with his unique insights, creativity and inspiration.”

Levinson added, “The Board has complete confidence that Tim is the right person to be our next CEO. Tim’s 13 years of service to Apple have been marked by outstanding performance, and he has demonstrated remarkable talent and sound judgment in everything he does.”

One of the founders of Apple in 1976, Jobs left the company in 1985.  After middling success with another computer entity, NEXT, Jobs returned to a floundering Apple in 1996 as interim CEO.  By 2000 he dropped the "interim" title as he helped shepherd one of the biggest turnaround in the history of American business. Under Jobs' second tenure, Apple revolutionized the music business with the iPod and itunes store, cellphones with the iPhone and the touchpad with the iPad.  Over the past 12 months, Apple has gone back and forth with ExxonMobil as the world's biggest company surpassing even Microsoft which was co-founded by Jobs' longtime rival Bill Gates.

Jobs is also responsible for spearheading the creative development of Pixar animation studios which he acquired in 1986.  After mammoth creative and commercial success under the direction of John Lasseter, Disney acquired Pixar for $7.4 billion in an all-stock transaction.  Jobs became the largest single Disney shareholder with 7% of the company and a seat on the company's board of directors.  Jobs also has a seat on a special steering committee at Disney.