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Steve Jobs is 'cancer-free'

Rumours of ill health greatly exaggerated

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Apple chief exec Steve Jobs has been able to assure its board that he's cancer-free, four years after undergoing surgery to treat a rare form of pancreatic cancer.

Jobs told associates that his recent weight loss is due to nutritional problems resulting from the surgery, The New York Times reports. The paper adds that he went under the knife again earlier this year to address these complications.

The 53-year-old's gaunt appearance at a conference announcing the launch of the 3G-version of the iPhone last month sparked off rumours of ill health partially blamed for a fall in Apple's share price. Official accounts that Jobs was taking antibiotics in response to a "common bug" at the time of the launch failed to quell concerns.

The issue surfaced again during a conference call on Monday when finance chief Peter Oppenheimer described Jobs's health as a "private matter".

Apple's stock dipped as much as 12 per cent on Tuesday prior to recovering to close at $162.02, 2.6 per cent down on the day. Sales projections that disappointed Wall Street were seen as the main reason behind the drop, but doubts about the health of its chief exec may also have played a part.

Apple's shares rebounded to $165.67 in early trading on Wednesday, much the same price they started the week on.

Jobs's design and marketing savvy is seen as a key factor in Apple rejuvenated fortunes since he rejoined the firm as chief exec in 1997. It seems like ancient history now, but prior to the launch of the iPod, Apple was seen as a declining brand. ®

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