I’ll leave it to others much more informed than I am to parse through what Apple CEO Steve Jobs announced at the developers conference (although I am glad to hear that we Canucks will be getting a 3G iPhone soon, along with dozens of other countries). But I have to say that one thing really struck me while watching the live-blogging coverage at Gizmodo and Engadget and MacRumours: Jobs looked emaciated. I looked back through photos from the developers conference last year and the year before, and there were comments and blog posts then about how thin he looked — and this time he looked even thinner than that. You could see his collarbone through his shirt (photo courtesy of Engadget).

As most people probably know, Jobs was diagnosed with a form of pancreatic cancer in 2003 and was operated on in 2004 — after reportedly not seeking treatment for more than nine months, while he pursued a range of holistic therapies. Although pancreatic cancer is one of the worst forms of the disease, however, Jobs had a rarer form known as a neuroendocrine tumour, which can often be cured through surgery. That said, many cancers recur even after treatment, especially if they have metastasized (that is, spread to other organs such as the liver or kidney). Of course, there’s no way of knowing.

I’m not the only one who noticed Jobs’ size — it was commented upon by many people on Twitter, and Valleywag wrote a post saying that rumour has it he is on a strict vegan diet. Let’s hope that’s all it is. Note: Some people have told me privately that they think writing about Steve Jobs and his health is “creepy” or otherwise inappropriate, but I have to disagree. The man is the high-profile CEO of a major technology company, and arguably more important to the health and brand identity of that company than the CEO of any other company I can think of. His health is a matter of public interest, not just prurient curiosity.


Plenty of other places are talking about Steve’s gaunt appearance now, including the Wall Street Journal, the LA Times tech blog, Eric Savitz at Barron’s and Henry Blodget at Silicon Alley Insider. The Apple Insider blog says that according to the company Jobs has been suffering from a “common bug.”

About the author

Mathew 2430 posts

I'm a Toronto-based senior writer with Fortune magazine, and my favorite things to write about are social technology, media and the evolution of online behavior

27 Responses to “Is Steve Jobs sick again, or just thin?”
  1. Steve has cancer. I heard from an insider, it is bad and its pancreal. I feel very sorry for him.

  2. Well, we had those stories going around two years ago:


    so… what? I think he's just thin. Stressed out, maybe. Nothing to worry about. Or so I tell myself *sigh*

    Just remembering what happend when Apple had lost him the last time – it was ugly. Ugly indeed. We would be stuck with Linux and Google again.

  3. […] Mathew goes a little deeper and I agree with him that it’s not sick or disturbing to discuss, but major news that hopefully is not true and if is, seems rather material. […]

  4. I don't know about this rare form but my boss was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer last April and passed away in December. It's a very aggressive cancer. I'm glad to here that Jobs had an operable form and I wish him good health. He sure seemed to have energy, notwithstanding the weight loss.

  5. Okay – He's suffering from a bug, oh, we meant he's on a strict Vegan diet, oh we meant he's working too hard…

    C'mon Apple, make up our minds…

  6. All I can say is, it scares me. I am a huge Steve Jobs fan. Watching the keynote, I immediately worried about him looking too thin, frail, not energetic. I knew he had had pancreatic cancer (the good kind) so that may have increased my inclination to go there. Also, we know he kept his cancer secret for 9 months when he first had it. I don't feel confident that he or Apple would disclose his condition were it serious. I would love to be convinced otherwise as soon as possible.

  7. […] In 2006 the same thing was speculated, and not just by one source. There were a few murmurs of it in 2007, and this year it’s back with a vengeance. […]

  8. Hope he is ok. And he MUST be ok, there is no other way. I want to see more WWDC's. more and more amazing products, presented by a guy, who really did change the face of the industry. Long live Steve and Apple.

  9. Whether he is ill or not, how can people blame him for not disclosing? He is a fighter and probably wants to be around until he no longer can work. Why should he have to make any announcement until then? Why should the company go down when he can still make a difference? It is not a right for the public to know. Respect his privacy. We here in his hometown do.

  10. […] is up for debate is whether Steve’s health is a public matter or a private matter. When I wrote a blog post about Steve’s appearance — one of the first blogs to do so following the […]

  11. he is vegetarian

    If he is blood type A, he is ok

    If he is O, he needs meat

    If you eat the wrong food for your blood, you can get cancer more easily



  12. I´m sorry to see Jobs apparently sick. He´s got a lot of things to give us yet. Hope he can get better.


  13. […] Bloget comes out with a similar storyline. As I came to find out later, gossip site Gawker and Matthew Ingram were first out of the gate on the […]

  14. He looks like a sick person.. Because of his body

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  16. What´s wrong with you Mzjpuff, you are an idiot. Can´t you see how thin he is and even if he was on a diet he looks old for his age. He is not even 60.

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  21. Him being sick is an option but not the only one. After having a pancreatic cancer operation, his pancreatic function may have diminished and the nutrients in his food don't get processed quite as well there for the weight loss.
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  22. I am big fan of Steve Jobs. I know some people are concerned.
    I know you have cancer. but don,t worry, stressed out. please say that “All is well” and relax. Isagenix Calorad

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