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Apple's Steve Jobs Explains Weight Loss

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. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Yuki Noguchi is a correspondent on the Science Desk based out of NPR's headquarters in Washington, D.C. She started covering consumer health in the midst of the pandemic, reporting on everything from vaccination and racial inequities in access to health, to cancer care, obesity and mental health.
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