Steve Jobs spent his final days surrounded by close family members, and used his last interview to explain to his wife and children why he "wasn't always there for them," it was revealed yesterday.
The Apple founder's biographer, Walter Isaacson, said that when he visited Mr Jobs a few weeks ago, he found him curled up in pain in a downstairs bedroom because he had become too weak to climb stairs.
He was nonetheless surprisingly cheerful. "His mind was still sharp and his humour vibrant," Mr Isaacson recalled. Mr Jobs then explained why, despite his famous reclusiveness, he had decided to co-operate with a biographer.
"I wanted my kids to know me," Mr Isaacson recalled Mr Jobs saying, in a posthumous tribute the biographer wrote for Time magazine. "I wasn't always there for them, and I wanted them to know why and to understand what I did."
Mr Jobs, who was 56, is survived by his wife, Laurene Powell Jobs, their three children, Eve, Erin and Reed and his sisters Patti Jobs and Mona Simpson. He also has a 33-year-old daughter, Lisa Brennan-Jobs, whose mother was a high-school girlfriend, Chris-Ann Brennan.
Friends say that he spent recent weeks at home in Palo Alto, California, with his immediate family, who will now oversee the fate of his $6.5 billion fortune. Though many potential visitors were rebuffed, he found time to say farewell to a handful of close friends.
They included Robert Iger, the chief executive of Disney, in which Mr Jobs was a major shareholder and board-member, along with John Doerr, a venture capitalist, and Bill Campbell, a senior Apple executive. One of his final outings was to Jin Sho, a favourite sushi restaurant, where he dined with Dean Omish, a physician and friend. "He was aware that his time on earth was limited. He wanted control of what he did with the choices that were left," Mr Omish told the New York Times.
"He was very human. He was so much more of a real person than most people know. That's what made him so great," he added. "Steve made choices. I asked him if he was glad that he had kids, and he said, 'It's 10,000 times better than anything I've ever done'."
It wasn't always thus. In the early stages of his career, Jobs, who was adopted, denied being the father of Lisa and insisted in court documents that he was "sterile and infertile". He acknowledged paternity when she was six, and they were later reconciled.
Mr Jobs died from pancreatic cancer. He had recently started a new drug regime and told friends that there was some cause for hope. But his sister, Mona Simpson, said he was resigned to his fate, adding: "His tone was tenderly apologetic at the end. He felt terrible that he would have to leave us."