Steve Jobs death anniversary: How Apple billionaire stripped his kids of inheritance & denied he fathered one of them

Luke Kenton

5 Oct 2021

STEVE Jobs, the legendary co-founder of Apple, died on this day 10 years ago following a battle with pancreatic cancer.

To commemorate the tech pioneer's death, Apple released a video on Tuesday narrated entirely by quotes from Jobs, in addition to some of his infamous speeches during various product launches.

"Life can be much broader once you discover one simple fact," Jobs is heard saying in the video.

"And that is, everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you. And you can change it, you can influence it, you can build your own things that other people can use."

Apple also dedicated the entire homepage of their website to Jobs on Tuesday, on which a heartfelt message from his family was also shared.

"Each of us has found his or her own path to consolation, but we have come together in a beautiful place of love for Steve, and for what he taught us," their message reads, in part.

"For all of Steve's gifts, it was his power as a teacher that has endured. He taught us to be open to the beauty of the world, to be curious around new ideas, to see around the next corner, and most of all to stay humble in our own beginner's mind."

"There are many things we still see through his eyes, but he also taught to look for ourselves. He gave us equipment for living, and it has served us well," the statement continued.

"One of our greatest sources of consolation has been our association of Steve with beauty. The sight of something beautiful — a wooded hillside, a well‑made object — recalls his spirit to us. Even in his years of suffering, he never lost his faith in the beauty of existence."


Steve Jobs is widely celebrated as a genius and visionary among the tech community but the legacy he left behind in his personal life and in his professional relationships is more contentious.

The flaws of Jobs' management style and personal life have been well documented in books, movies, and documentaries in the decade since his death.

His fractious relationship with his daughter, Lisa Brennan-Jobs was the focus of Danny Boyle's critically acclaimed movie, Steve Jobs, which was released in 2015 and stars Michael Fassbender.

Brennan-Jobs also later penned a memoir, titled Small Fry, that revealed that her father rejected her for years and denied being her father - even when the results of a DNA test suggested otherwise.

The memoir recounts numerous memories of Jobs being outright cruel to her.

In one anecdote, when she was just a nine-years-old Brennan Jobs recounted how she winsomely asked her father if she could have his Porsche when he was done with it.

“You’re not getting anything,” he reportedly snapped. “You understand? Nothing. You’re getting nothing.”


When she later lived with him as a teenager she said he wouldn't have the heating fixed or the dishwasher mended.

He also reportedly dragged his feet about paying her college tuition fees at Harvard, refusing to pay after her first year, in retaliation to some perceived slight.

Wealthy neighbors eventually stepped in to help Brennan-Jobs cover the fees - and Jobs wouldn't pay them back until several years later.

She recounted to the Guardian in 2018 that some of her father's unpleasantness came from the fact that he was "awkward."

"Really awkward. It’s hard to overstate that. I had a surprise party for my mother when I was eight and he sat on the floor and his awkwardness had its own charisma.

"You could hardly pay attention to other things because you were so worried about him. Even at eight, I felt it: ‘Oh God, are you OK?’ And people have been forgetting that he wasn’t successful when I was growing up. He wasn’t succeeding ... And he kept on trying, even though he kept on failing.”


Steve Jobs died on October 5, 2011, following a battle with pancreatic cancer, aged 56.

Before his death, the former Apple CEO amassed a net worth valued at $10.5 billion that he left to his wife Laurene Powell-Jobs.

As of this year, Powell-Jobs is now worth over $22 billion. However, neither Brennan-Jobs nor any of his other three children will fully inherit the fortune.

In an interview with the New York Times in 2020, Powell-Jobs said she and her late husband do not believe in "legacy wealth building" - something that Jobs' children are aware of.

"I inherited my wealth from my husband, who didn’t care about the accumulation of wealth," she said.

"I’m not interested in legacy wealth buildings, and my children know that ... Steve wasn’t interested in that. If I live long enough, it ends with me."

Meanwhile, Brenna-Jobs told the Times in 2018 that she and her siblings all received an inheritance from their father totaling in the millions, though none of them has a say in where the rest of his wealth will go.

If she did, she says that she would give it away to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation - an interesting choice considering her father's well-documented and fierce rivalry with the Microsoft founder.

“Would it be too perverse?” she asked at the time. “I feel like the Gates Foundation is really doing good stuff, and I think I would just hot potato it away.”


Jobs co-founded Apple from the garage of his parents' home in 1976.

He was also behind the software company NeXT and was one of the early supporters of animation studio Pixar.

Months before his death he named Tim Cook as his successor as Apple CEO.

In an internal memo to staff on Tuesday, Cook told employees that the visionary co-founder would be eager to see what the company develops next.

"Today marks the 10th anniversary of Steve’s passing," Cook said in the memo, which was obtained by Bloomberg. "It’s a moment to celebrate his life and to reflect on the extraordinary legacy he left behind.

"Steve believed that 'people with passion can change the world for the better.' That’s the philosophy that inspired him to create Apple. And it lives in us today.

"Steve was so many things: brilliant, funny, and wise, a husband, a father, a friend, and, of course, a visionary. He challenged us to see the world not for what it was, but for what it could be. And he helped so many people, myself included, see the same potential in ourselves. Not a day goes by that I don’t think about him."

Cook continued: "This year, as much as any other, we’re reminded of the profound impact our products have on the world. I feel so lucky that we spend our days creating wildly innovative tools that connect people, inspire them to think differently, and empower them to make their own dent in the universe, too. It’s one of the many gifts that Steve gave to all of us.

"I wish Steve were here to see the way his spirit lives on in all of your amazing work. But most of all, I wish he could see what you do next. Steve once said that his proudest achievements were the ones that were yet to come. He spent every day imagining a future that no one else could see and working relentlessly to bring his vision to life.

"Steve was a singular figure, but he taught us all how to soar. I miss him, and I will cherish him always."