Apple fans, investors and watchers were no doubt knocked off their seats yesterday when the supermarket tabloid The National Enquirer ran a story giving Steve Jobs just six weeks to live. The sleazy paper ran shocking pictures showing "emaciated" and "frail" person who lost a lot of muscle mass, purported to be the 55-year-old "cancer-stricken" Apple CEO. In January, Apple announced its chief executive was going for another medical leave "so I can focus on my health," adding he would continue as CEO and remain involved in all strategic decisions.
The Enquirer's report spells poor prognosis for Jobs who next Thursday turns 56. "He weaves back and forth when he walks, as if he is having trouble keeping his balance, and the pain of every step is evident on his face," Dr. Samuel Jacobson was quoted in the story. Other tabloids corroborated the report, including The Daily Mail and Radar Online.
We've included below the graphics images the tabloid took on February 8, when Jobs was apparently going for breakfast with his wife Laurene Powell before visiting the Stanford Cancer Centre in California, the same institution that treated actor Patrick Swayze for pancreatic cancer.
The morbid story is full of disturbing details, describing Jobs as having lost a significant amount of weight, going from 175lb to just 130lb. It also quoted Dr. Gabe Mirkin who said Jobs was "terminal" while suggesting the inevitable is around the corner:
What you are seeing is extreme muscle wasting from calorie deprivation, most likely caused by cancer. He has no muscle left in his buttocks, which is the last place to go. He definitely appears to be in the terminal stages of his life from these photos. I would be surprised if he weighed more than 130lb.
Neither man are oncologists or have seen Jobs in person. Nasdaq slid on the sad news. Apple, which trades on Nasdq there under the AAPL symbol, went down roughly three points in after-hours trading yesterday, but rebounded on the news that the Silicon Valley luminary is scheduled to meet President Obama later today alongside Google's outgoing CEO Eric Schmidt and Facebook's boss Mark Zuckerberg.