With Time Running Short, Jobs Managed His Farewells
By CHARLES DUHIGG October 6, 2011
Over the last few months, a steady stream of visitors to Palo Alto, Calif., called an old friend's home number and asked if he was well enough to entertain visitors, perhaps for the last time.
In February, Steven P. Jobs had learned that, after years of fighting cancer, his time was becoming shorter. He quietly told a few acquaintances, and they, in turn, whispered to others. And so a pilgrimage began.
The calls trickled in at first. Just a few, then dozens, and in recent weeks, a nearly endless stream of people who wanted a few moments to say goodbye, according to people close to Mr. Jobs. Most were intercepted by his wife, Laurene. She would apologetically explain that he was too tired to receive many visitors. In his final weeks, he became so weak that it was hard for him to walk up the stairs of his own home anymore, she confided to one caller.
Some asked if they might try again tomorrow.
Sorry, she replied. He had only so much energy for farewells. The man who valued his privacy almost as much as his ability to leave his mark on the world had decided whom he most needed to see before he left.
Mr. Jobs spent his final weeks - as he had spent most of his life - in tight control of his choices. He invited a close friend, the physician Dean Ornish, a preventive health advocate, to join him for sushi at one of his favorite restaurants, Jin Sho in Palo Alto. He said goodbye to longtime colleagues including the venture capitalist John Doerr, the Apple board member Bill Campbell and the Disney chief executive Robert A. Iger. He offered Apple's executives advice on unveiling the iPhone 4S, which occurred on Tuesday. He spoke to his biographer, Walter Isaacson. He started a new drug regime, and told some friends that there was reason for hope.