Bill Gates 'Truly Saddened' by Jobs' Passing

CUPERTINO, Calif. ( TheStreet) -- Microsoft ( MSFT) chairman Bill Gates has paid tribute to former Apple ( AAPL) CEO Steve Jobs, who passed away on Wednesday at age 56.

"I'm truly saddened to learn of Steve Jobs' death," explained Gates, in a statement. "Melinda and I extend our sincere condolences to his family and friends, and to everyone Steve has touched through his work."

"Steve and I first met nearly 30 years ago, and have been colleagues, competitors and friends over the course of more than half our lives," Gates continued.

"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."

"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 had battled pancreatic cancer in recent years, stepped down from the Apple CEO's role in August.

-- Written by James Rogers in New York.

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