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Jobs Asks & Gets Medical Leave Of Absence From Apple Board

In a move that will likely fuel a number of rumours, Apple CEO Steve Jobs has sent an e-mail to all Apple developers saying that the board of directors has granted him, at his request, a medical leave of absence so that he can focus on his health.

He adds that he will continue to act as the CEO and be involved in "major strategic decisions" for the company, while leaving the running of the company to Tim Cook, the acting COO and the most likely successor to Steve Jobs.

Jobs ended the media advisory asking people to respect his privacy as well as his family's. Today's announcement will kick start renewed interest in Steve Jobs' health as it looks increasingly likely that the harm caused by the pancreatic cancer he was treated for a few years ago hasn't been totally cured.

He was diagnosed with pancreatic endocrine tumours (PETs), or islet cell tumours, and had a liver transplant in April 2009. He made a similar announcement back in January 2009 causing the share prices of the company to fall significantly.

Similarly today, Apple shares fell in after hours trading, highlighting the importance of having a charismatic leader such as Steve Jobs at the helm.