Today’s New York Times:
In [his 2005 commencement address at Stanford], delivered after Mr. Jobs was told he had cancer but before it was clear that it would ultimately claim his life, Mr. Jobs told his audience that “death is very likely the single best invention of life. It is life’s change agent.”
The benefit of death, he said, is you know not to waste life living someone else’s choices.
“Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.”
In his final months, Mr. Jobs became even more dedicated to such sentiments. “Steve’s concerns these last few weeks were for people who depended on him: the people who worked for him at Apple and his four children and his wife,” said Mona Simpson, Mr. Jobs’s sister. “His tone was tenderly apologetic at the end. He felt terrible that he would have to leave us.”
As news of the seriousness of his illness became more widely known, Mr. Jobs was asked to attend farewell dinners and to accept various awards.
He turned down the offers. On the days that he was well enough to go to Apple’s offices, all he wanted afterward was to return home and have dinner with his family. When one acquaintance became too insistent on trying to send a gift to thank Mr. Jobs for his friendship, he was asked to stop calling. Mr. Jobs had other things to do before time ran out.
“He was very human,” Dr. Ornish said. “He was so much more of a real person than most people know. That’s what made him so great.”