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The revelation of his brush with death remained—like everything involving Jobs and Apple—a tightly controlled affair.

In fact, nary a word got out until Jobs’ tumor had been removed.

Apple entertained no further questions about Jobs’ health, citing the CEO’s need for privacy.

No one learned just how long Jobs had been sick—or that he had contemplated not having the surgery at all.

For nine months Jobs pursued this approach, as Apple’s (AAPL) board of directors and executive team secretly agonized over the situation—and whether the company needed to disclose anything about its CEO’s health to investors.“It was very traumatic for all of us,” recalls one of those in whom Jobs confided, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the topic’s sensitivity.“We all really care about Steve, and it was a serious risk for the company as well. This was one page in the adventure.” The Steve Jobs adventure: By now it’s one of the most remarkable stories in business.The next day, in an upbeat e-mail to employees later released to the press, he announced that he had faced a life-threatening illness and was “cured.” Jobs assured everyone that he’d be back on the job in September.When trading resumed a day after the announcement, Apple shares fell just 2.4%.

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In October 2003, as the computer world buzzed about what cool new gadget he would introduce next, Apple CEO Steve Jobs—then presiding over the most dramatic corporate turnaround in the history of Silicon Valley—found himself confronting a life-and-death decision.

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