Apple's Steve Jobs Explains Weight Loss

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Over the past year, the gaunt appearance of Apple founder Steve Jobs has alarmed many Mac and iPod lovers. In a public letter, Jobs said the weight loss had been a mystery to him and his doctors until a few weeks ago. He says he will be undergoing a "relatively simple" treatment for a hormone imbalance.

STEVE INSKEEP, host:

Here in the United States, the CEO of Apple, Steve Jobs, will not make it to this year's MacWorld Expo which starts today. Now, few chief executives are linked so directly with the fortunes of their company as Steve Jobs, and many people took notice when he began looking gaunt last year. Speculation about his health has become so intense that Jobs has finally addressed the issue publicly. NPR's Yuki Noguchi reports.

YUKI NOGUCHI: Giving a speech in October, Steve Jobs looked like a wisp of a man. His wrists appeared as thin as a girl's. His trademark turtleneck and jeans hung off his shoulders and hips. And after months of silence, Jobs yesterday acknowledged this in a written statement. He said, "The reason has been a mystery to me and my doctors." The root cause, he says, is a hormonal imbalance that's been robbing his body of proteins. Rob Enderle's a tech consultant and a Silicon Valley watcher. He says speculation likely won't end there.

Mr. ROB ENDERLE (Technology Consultant): It's not what they said. It's what they didn't say. They didn't say he didn't have cancer.

NOGUCHI: Five years ago, Jobs underwent surgery for pancreatic cancer. John Marshall is an oncologist with Georgetown University. He says such surgery often affects enzyme levels consistent with Jobs' symptoms.

Dr. JOHN MARSHALL (Clinical Director of Oncology, Georgetown University Hospital): Very few people will actually be cured of the disease.

NOGUCHI: But survival depends on many different factors, and Enderle the consultant says it's a problem because Apple hasn't groomed a successor for Jobs.

Mr. ENDERLE: There is no succession plan at Apple. And so regardless of what happens to Steve Jobs, he is mortal, and the company desperately needs to have a plan for what they're going to do if something were to happen to him.

NOGUCHI: For his part, Jobs says he's trying to get better. But if he can no longer do the job, he'll step down. Yuki Noguchi, NPR News.

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Steve Jobs Discloses 'Nutritional Problem'

Apple Inc. founder Steve Jobs sought Monday to quell investor concerns about his health and ability to lead the company, saying his 2008 weight loss was due to a recently diagnosed hormone imbalance.

Jobs, who survived pancreatic cancer in 2004, posted a statement on Apple's Web site saying he is being treated for the problem and will continue as Apple's chief executive officer.

"The remedy for this nutritional problem is relatively simple and straightforward, and I've already begun treatment," Jobs said in a statement posted on Apple's Web site. "I will continue as Apple's CEO during my recovery."

Investors became concerned about Jobs' health last month when the company announced he would not give the keynote speech at a Macworld conference Tuesday in San Francisco. Speculation that Jobs was in poor health began in June when he appeared at an Apple event and had lost a significant amount of weight.

Jobs said the reason for his weight loss had been a mystery to him and his doctors until a few weeks ago. He said a battery of sophisticated tests revealed a hormone imbalance that had robbed his body of proteins and caused him to lose weight and muscle mass.

Jobs said his doctors expect it will be late spring before he regains weight, and he asked investors to bear with him.

"I will be the first one to step up and tell our board of directors if I can no longer continue to fulfill my duties as Apple's CEO," he said.

Apple's board released a statement expressing confidence in Jobs.

"Apple is very lucky to have Steve as its leader and CEO, and he deserves our complete and unwavering support during his recuperation. He most certainly has that from Apple and its board," the statement said.

Apple stock rose more than 4 percent after Jobs' statement was released.

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