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Steve Jobs to Take Six-Month Leave From Apple

Steve Jobs, co-founder and CEO of Apple Computer, will be taking a leave of absence from the company due to health reasons until June, according to initial reports on AOL Money and the Wall Street Journal Online.

This news resulted in Apple's stock price taking a hit, although by the time of this writing, no one can say where the price will settle.

It was only on January 5 that Jobs sent a letter to Apple employees, which was made available to the public, describing a "hormone imbalance" that had been affecting his health throughout the prior year. Jobs' weight loss had been causing rumors among Apple fans, investors and the public, and the letter was intended to assuage the concern among many that he was possibly near death. Apple's stock price had been suffering and his announcement had given confidence to many.

This latest report has had the opposite effect, as the letter released today explains that "during the past week I have learned that my health-related issues are more complex than I originally thought."

Day-to-day operations will be left to company COO Tim Cook, although Jobs says he'll still be involved in high-level decisions.

Jobs skipped the MacWorld trade show last week -- an event at which his keynote address is typically the highlight and often used to introduce the major new Mac product of the year. This year, the announcements were decidedly low key, although Apple insiders hint that a few big product announcements may be coming within a few weeks.

In the meantime, the exact nature of Jobs' illness, and the effect of his absence from the company, remains to be seen. For more on this breaking story, head on over to Engadget.

Tags: Apple, health, Steve Jobs, SteveJobs