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World tributes pour in for Steve Jobs

By Laura Smith-Spark, CNN
updated 10:48 AM EDT, Thu October 6, 2011
A memorial in front of the Apple store on Regent Street in London pays tribute to Apple co-founder Steve Jobs.
A memorial in front of the Apple store on Regent Street in London pays tribute to Apple co-founder Steve Jobs.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: "A man with a rare ability to fuse art and technology," says Masayoshi Son
  • France's Sarkozy says Jobs was "one of the great figures of our time"
  • Jobs "transformed the way we work and play," British PM David Cameron says
  • Egypt's Wael Ghonim: "He was truly inspiring"

(CNN) -- International leaders in politics and business are paying tribute Thursday to Apple visionary Steve Jobs, whose death at age 56 has saddened many around the world.

"Steve Jobs transformed the way we work and play; a creative genius who will be sorely missed. Our thoughts are with his family," British Prime Minister David Cameron tweeted.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy wrote on his Facebook page that Jobs was a great entrepreneur, innovator and major player in the world's technological revolution.

"As inspired as he was inspiring, Steve Jobs will remain one of the great figures of our time," Sarkozy said, as he paid tribute to the American's courage in both his work and personal life.

Ireland's Prime Minister, or Taoiseach, Enda Kenny also gave his condolences in a statement paying tribute to the man who brought the world the iPod portable music player, the iPhone and the iPad tablet.

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"Steve Jobs was a creative genius who broke down walls in business and opened doors in people's minds," Kenny said.

"His innovative prowess in the area of technology has brought about a level of access to information for millions that few would have ever foreseen. His legacy will be not just his products and business achievements, but also the way in which he altered mindsets in the business world and in everyday life."

Apple has a large factory in Cork, in the Irish Republic, which opened in 1980 to manufacture the Mac computer. It employs about 1,400 people and has expanded into various aspects of the company's business.

In Russia, President Dmitry Medvedev wrote in his Twitter microblog: "People like Steve Jobs change our world. My sincere condolences to his relatives and all those who appreciated his intelligence and talent."

Medvedev met Jobs during a visit to California's Silicon Valley in June 2010, during which the Apple co-founder told Medvedev about his company and some of its future plans. At the end of their meeting, Jobs presented Medvedev with an iPhone4.

Medvedev's chief economic aide, Arkady Dvorkovich, tweeted: "Applause to Steve Jobs for everything that he did in his not so long life."

German government spokesman Steffen Seibert said Jobs had "changed our life and work with his ideas and sense for business like few others."

In Egypt, Wael Ghonim -- a former Google executive who used social media to jump-start social change in Egypt -- also honored Jobs via Twitter, saying: "He was truly inspiring. His company helped change the world. Good bye Steve Jobs."

Masayoshi Son, a Japanese technology entrepreneur and CEO of Softbank, the main Japanese iPhone carrier, said he was saddened by the news of Jobs' death.

"Steve was truly a genius of our time, a man with a rare ability to fuse art and technology," he said in a statement. "In centuries from now, he will be remembered alongside Leonardo da Vinci. His achievements will continue to shine forever."

Dr. Jong-seok Park, president and CEO of LG Electronics Mobile Communications Company in South Korea, offered his thoughts and prayers for Jobs' family.

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"Steven Jobs was, and still is, an inspiration to many individuals and companies all over the world," he said.

"His passing is a loss to innovators and visionaries everywhere, even here in Korea, and the culture he fostered will be a benchmark for decades to come."   

Taiwanese self-made billionaire Terry Gou, founder and chairman of Foxconn Technology Group, which makes many Apple products, said the world had lost a "true hero" and he had lost a friend whose dedication to his craft had been shown by his determination to continue working despite being seriously ill.

"True business leaders grow their companies by committing their innovation, creativity, and passion and, while Steve exemplified all of these qualities, he also committed his heart to building a company and products that enriched people's lives," Gou said in a statement.

"Steve's spirit will live on forever with those who, like me, had the honor to know and work with him. However, everyone has been touched by his genius and, because of this, he has left the world a better place. He will be missed, but never forgotten."

Foxconn said in a statement that it had lost "an industry visionary, a true partner to our company, and a great friend."

Jobs "had an immeasurable and positive impact on the lives of people around the world and the global electronics industry is all the better for the many contributions he made to ensuring that technology is understandable, beautiful, and, most importantly, accessible to people from all walks of life," the company said.

Working conditions at Foxconn came under scrutiny last year after a rash of suicides at a Foxconn factory in China that makes iPhones.

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News of Jobs' death prompted immediate tributes from business leaders in China, and Apple fans staged a vigil outside the Apple store in Hong Kong.

Yang Yuanqing, the CEO of China's computer powerhouse Lenovo, said: "As a competitor, he helped ensure all of us pushed even harder. I am confident his legacy will continue to energize the industry for many years to come."

"Jobs said, 'Remember that you will be dead soon'," said Lee Kaifu, venture capitalist and founding president of Google China, referring to Jobs' famous 2005 Stanford University commencement speech.

"It helped me through making the most important choices in my life. Because all the glory and pride, embarrassment and fear will all vanish when confronting death."

South Korean electronics maker Samsung also paid tribute to Jobs as a "great entrepreneur" in a statement sending condolences to the Jobs family and his colleagues at Apple.

"His innovative spirit and remarkable accomplishments will forever be remembered by people around the world," it said.

CNN's Maxim Tkachenko, Per Nyberg, Paula Hancocks, Sarita Harilela, Junko Ogura, Zarifmo Aslamshoyeva, Samira Said, Kevin Voigt, Jaime FlorCruz, Xiaoni Chen, Kristie LuStout, Alexis Lai, and journalist Peter Taggart contributed to this report.

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