Jobs contributed to a number of political candidates and causes during his life, giving $209,000 to Democrats, $19,000 to associated special interests and $1,000 to a Republican.
Health issues and in mid-2004, he announced to his employees that he had a cancerous tumor in his pancreas. The prognosis for pancreatic cancer is usually very poor; Jobs stated that he had a rare, far less aggressive type known as islet cell neuroendocrine tumor. Despite his diagnosis, Jobs resisted his doctors' recommendations for mainstream medical intervention for nine months, instead consuming a special alternative medicine diet in an attempt to thwart the disease. According to Harvard researcher Dr. Ramzi Amir, his choice of alternative treatment "led to an unnecessarily early death". According to Jobs's biographer, Walter Isaacson, "for nine months he refused to undergo surgery for his pancreatic cancer – a decision he later regretted as his health declined." "Instead, he tried a vegan diet, acupuncture, herbal remedies and other treatments he found online, and even consulted a psychic. He also was influenced by a doctor who ran a clinic that advised juice fasts, bowel cleansings and other unproven approaches, before finally having surgery in July 2004." He eventually underwent a pancreaticoduodenectomy (or "Whipple procedure") in July 2004, that appeared to successfully remove the tumor. Jobs apparently did not receive chemotherapy or radiation therapy. During Jobs's absence, Tim Cook, head of worldwide sales and operations at Apple, ran the company.
In early August 2006, Jobs delivered the keynote for Apple's annual Worldwide Developers Conference. His "thin, almost gaunt" appearance and unusually "listless" delivery, together with his choice to delegate significant portions of his keynote to other presenters, inspired a flurry of media and Internet speculation about his health. In contrast, according to an Ars Technica journal report, Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) attendees who saw Jobs in person said he "looked fine". Following the keynote, an Apple spokesperson said that "Steve's health is robust."
Two years later, similar concerns followed Jobs's 2008 WWDC keynote address. Apple officials stated Jobs was victim to a "common bug" and was taking antibiotics, while others surmised his cachectic appearance was due to the Whipple procedure. During a July conference call discussing Apple earnings, participants responded to repeated questions about Jobs's health by insisting that it was a "private matter". Others, however, voiced the opinion that shareholders had a right to know more, given Jobs's hands-on approach to running his company. The New York Times published an article based on an off-the-record phone conversation with Jobs, noting that "While his health problems amounted to a good deal more than 'a common bug', they weren't life-threatening and he doesn't have a recurrence of cancer."
On August 28, 2008, Bloomberg mistakenly published a 2500-word obituary of Jobs in its corporate news service, containing blank spaces for his age and cause of death. (News carriers customarily stockpile up-to-date obituaries to facilitate news delivery in the event of a well-known figure's death.) Although the error was promptly rectified, many news carriers and blogs reported on it, intensifying rumors concerning Jobs's health. Jobs responded at Apple's September 2008 Let's Rock keynote by quoting Mark Twain: "Reports of my death are greatly exaggerated." At a subsequent media event, Jobs concluded his presentation with a slide reading "110/70", referring to his blood pressure, stating he would not address further questions about his health.
On December 16, 2008, Apple announced that marketing vice-president Phil Schiller would deliver the company's final keynote address at the Macworld Conference and Expo 2009, again reviving questions about Jobs's health. In a statement given on January 5, 2009, on Apple.com, Jobs said that he had been suffering from a "hormone imbalance" for several months.
On January 14, 2009, in an internal Apple memo, Jobs wrote that in the previous week he had "learned that my health-related issues are more complex than I originally thought", and announced a six-month leave of absence until the end of June 2009, to allow him to better focus on his health. Tim Cook, who previously acted as CEO in Jobs's 2004 absence, became acting CEO of Apple, with Jobs still involved with "major strategic decisions."
In April 2009, Jobs underwent a liver transplant at Methodist University Hospital Transplant Institute in Memphis, Tennessee. Jobs's prognosis was described as "excellent".
On January 17, 2011, a year and a half after Jobs returned from his liver transplant, Apple announced that he had been granted a medical leave of absence. Jobs announced his leave in a letter to employees, stating his decision was made "so he could focus on his health". As during his 2009 medical leave, Apple announced that Tim Cook would run day-to-day operations and that Jobs would continue to be involved in major strategic decisions at the company. Despite the leave, he made appearances at the iPad 2 launch event (March 2), the WWDC keynote introducing iCloud (June 6), and before the Cupertino city council (June 7).
Jobs announced his resignation as Apple's CEO on August 24, 2011. "Unfortunately, that day has come," wrote Jobs, for he could "no longer meet [his] duties and expectations as Apple's CEO". Jobs became chairman of the board and named Tim Cook his successor. Jobs had worked for Apple until the day before his death.