Updated Steve Jobs has taken a leave of absence from his position as Apple CEO so he can focus on health issues that are "more complex" than he originally thought.
In a statement released this afternoon immediately following the suspension of after-hours trading of Apple stock, Jobs said that because "the curiosity over my personal health continues to be a distraction," he has "asked [Apple COO] Tim Cook to be responsible for Apple's day to day operations.
He added that "during the past week I have learned that my health-related issues are more complex than I originally thought" and that he has "decided to take a medical leave of absence until the end of June."
Health questions have dogged Apple's 53-year-old co-founder - and, many say, its savior - since he revealed in August 2004 that he had undergone surgery to remove a tumor from his pancreas.
Although a diagnosis of pancreatic cancer is often regarded as a "death sentence," it's important to note that the type of tumor that prompted Jobs's operation, known as an islet cell neuroendocrine tumor, is far less aggressive than the usual type of pancreatic tumor, an adenocarcinoma.
Even without surgery, according to Andrew Ko, MD, an assistant clinical professor in the UCSF Division of Hematology/Oncology, a person "with an islet cell tumor can sometimes live for years."
With surgery, the prognosis is improved - unless the tumor returns.