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By United Press International   |   Oct. 6, 2011 at 3:49 AM

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STEVE JOBS: Apple Inc. co-founder Steve Jobs, hailed as a "visionary and creative genius" by colleagues, has died, the U.S. firm said Wednesday on its Web site. He was 56.

"Apple has lost a visionary and creative genius, and the world has lost an amazing human being," the Cupertino, Calif., maker of computers, software and communications devices said in announcing Jobs' death. "Those of us who have been fortunate enough to know and work with Steve have lost a dear friend and an inspiring mentor. Steve leaves behind the company that only he could have built, and his spirit will forever be the foundation of Apple."

The announcement did not mention cause of death or say where Jobs, who had a history of cancer and other health problems, was when he died. Jobs had resigned as chief executive officer in August.

In a statement, Jobs' family said he "died peacefully today surrounded by his family," The Wall Street Journal reported.

Apple's board of directors released a statement Wednesday saying Jobs' "brilliance, passion and energy were the source of countless innovations that enrich and improve all of our lives. The world is immeasurably better because of Steve.

"His greatest love was for his wife Laurene and his family. Our hearts go out to them and to all who were touched by his extraordinary gifts."

Bill Gates, the co-founder and former chief executive of Microsoft Corp., said in a statement he was "truly saddened" by Jobs' death, The New York Times reported.

"The world rarely sees someone who has had the profound impact Steve has had, the effects of which will be felt for many generations to come," Gates said. "For those of us lucky enough to get to work with him, it's been an insanely great honor. I will miss Steve immensely."

Jobs, who grew up in California's Silicon Valley, co-founded Apple in 1976 with Steve Wozniak, was also a co-founder of Pixar Animation Studios.

Apple introduced a line of products -- including the Mac computer, iPhone and App Store, iPod media players and the iTunes media store -- that featured prominently in the growth of mobile media and computing devices in what has come to be called the Information Age.

Pixar produced a long run of blockbuster animated features including the "Toy Story" trilogy, "A Bug's Life," "Monsters, Inc.," "Finding Nemo," "The Incredibles," "Cars," "Wall-e," "Ratatouille" and "Up." The studio merged with The Walt Disney Co. in 2006.

In 1991, Jobs married Laurene Powell, whom he had met at Stanford University where he was speaking to a class. The couple had three children, and Jobs also had a daughter, Lisa, from a previous relationship.

Jobs resigned as CEO Aug. 24, telling the Apple board he could "no longer meet my duties and expectations."

In the letter, Jobs said he would have liked to have continued as "chairman of the board, director and Apple employee."

"I have always said if there ever came a day when I could no longer meet my duties and expectations as Apple's CEO, I would be the first to let you know," he wrote.

"Unfortunately, that day has come."

Jobs denied in July the company was actively taking steps to replace him. After the Journal reported Apple was seeking to create a short-list of successors to replace Jobs, he called the report "hogwash," InformationWeek reported.

Speculation about replacing Jobs had focused on his health, which has been a closely guarded topic at Apple, but includes his bout with pancreatic cancer, which was announced in 2004, and his liver transplant, which became known in 2009, despite the company's efforts to keep that under wraps.

Jobs went on medical leave again this year.

The board said at the time of Jobs' August announcement it had named Tim Clark to succeed Jobs, and that Cook would join the board.


JANI LANE: The cause of rocker Jani Lane's death was acute ethanol poisoning, law-enforcement sources in Los Angeles told TMZ.

The one-time Warrant front man, who battled drug and alcohol addiction for years, died Aug. 11 at age 47.

A half-empty bottle of vodka and prescription medication were found at the scene, but officials did not speculate on the cause of his death until toxicology tests were conducted and the results of them reviewed.

TMZ said Wednesday the Los Angeles Coroner's Office has finished its investigation and determined Lane died of acute ethanol poisoning.

Lane wrote Warrant's signature song "Cherry Pie," a hit in 1990. He left the group in 2004 to pursue a solo career but returned in 2008, leaving again that same year due to differences with his fellow musicians.

He was ordered to serve 120 days in jail after he was arrested for driving under the influence last year. It was his second DUI conviction in two years.

Warrant's other hits include "Heaven," "I Saw Red" and "Sometimes She Cries."


EDDIE CIBRIAN: Actor Eddie Cibrian suffered a deep gash on his right heel while taping a scene for "The Playboy Club" in Chicago, a source told the Chicago Sun-Times.

Cibrian's foot was caught under a 200-pound steel door, briefly sending the actor to Northwestern Memorial Hospital Tuesday, the same day NBC canceled his new series.

The Sun-Times said the show is to continue shooting through Monday because its producers hope it will be picked up by another network.

Adding to the actor's streak of bad luck this week, E! News said a 20-year-old motorist crashed into a fence outside the home Cibrian shares with his wife, country singer LeAnn Rimes, on Monday. No injuries were reported.


HARRY POTTER CAST: U.S. cable network Spike TV said Wednesday it is planning to pay tribute to the Harry Potter film franchise at its SCREAM Awards 2011.

The ninth and final installment in the series of fantasy blockbusters hit the big screen this year.

The sixth annual SCREAM Awards, which honors the best in science-fiction, fantasy, horror and comic books, is to be taped at California's Universal Studios Oct. 15.

It is to premiere on Spike TV Oct. 18.

Robert Downey Jr. is expected to attend the event to accept SCREAM's Hero Award, while Nicolas Cage will be on hand to reveal exclusive new footage from "Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance" and to accept the Maverick Award in recognition of his body of work.

"The superstars and superheroes who are coming to SCREAM this year do it because they love and appreciate these fans for their unparalleled passion," Casey Patterson, executive producer of the SCREAM Awards 2011 and executive vice president of event production for Viacom Media Networks Entertainment Group, said in a statement. "We have a lot of scream-worthy surprises for the fans this year."

© 2011 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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