Ever since Steve Jobs said he would not be giving the keynote speech at MacWorld, there have been lurid rumours that his health had taken a serious turn for the worse - but the Apple bigwig has finally had a go at putting the world straight.
Jobs said today that his weight loss during the year is the result of a hormone imbalance, and that he has already started treatment to counter it.
The letter to the Apple Community said of his weight loss: "My doctors think they have found the cause — a hormone imbalance that has been “robbing” me of the proteins my body needs to be healthy... The remedy for this nutritional problem is relatively simple and straightforward, and I’ve already begun treatment.
"But, just like I didn’t lose this much weight and body mass in a week or a month, my doctors expect it will take me until late this Spring to regain it. I will continue as Apple’s CEO during my recovery."
Jobs said he had "given more than my all for Apple for 11 years", but added that he would be the first to tell the board of directors if he was unable to continue.
The letter ends: "So now I’ve said more than I wanted to say, and all that I am going to say, about this."
A short note from Apple's directors said: "Apple is very lucky to have Steve as its leader and CEO, and he deserves our complete and unwavering support during his recuperation. He most certainly has that from Apple and its Board."
By 30 December there were various rumours that Jobs' absence from MacWorld was because he was near death. Such rumours have been investigated before for possible share price manipulation. A false blog post that he'd suffered a heart attack also led to a sharp fall in Apple's share price
Jobs was treated for a form of pancreatic cancer four years ago. He is personally credited by many for turning Apple around since rejoining the firm in the late 1990s. ®