Steve Jobs Takes 5-Month Medical Leave

"During the past week, I have learned that my health-related issues are more complex than I originally thought," Jobs said in the e-mail that Apple later released republished as a media advisory.

Tim Cook, COO, has been tapped to take over day-to-day operations at the company.

Jobs also sought to assure employees and investors that he is keeping a hand in Apple's business while on leave.

"As CEO, I plan to remain involved in major strategic decisions while I am out," he said. "Our board of directors fully supports this plan."

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The news is a reversal of last week's announcement in which Jobs said that he was suffering from a hormone imbalance, and that his doctors expected that it would take until late spring to regain his health. In the missive, he said, "I will continue as Apple's CEO during my recovery."

Ever since he appeared gaunt and haggard last June, gossip concerning Jobs' health ran rampant in the tech and investment communities, and many wondered if his pancreatic cancer had returned. The buzz reached a crescendo last month after Apple said Jobs would not be giving the keynote speech at the upcoming MacWorld conference.

Jobs, a notoriously private person, confronted those rumors last week in a letter addressed to the Apple community in which he mocked the "flurry of rumors about my health, with some even publishing stories of me on my deathbed."