NEW YORK — Apple Inc. founder and chief executive, Steve Jobs, a survivor of pancreatic cancer, said Monday that a hormone imbalance is to blame for the weight loss that has prompted concern about his health.
Jobs, 53, said in a public letter that his thinness had been a mystery even to him and his doctors until a few weeks ago, when tests confirmed that he has "a hormone imbalance that has been 'robbing' me of the proteins my body needs to be healthy."
Jobs said he will undergo a "relatively simple" treatment and will remain in charge of Apple.
Speculation about his health percolated in 2008 as Jobs appeared gaunt. Those worries intensified after Cupertino, Calif.-based Apple said in December that Jobs would not be making his annual keynote address Tuesday at the Macworld conference in San Francisco.
Officially Apple said Jobs would not take the stage because this year will mark the company's last appearance at the show, which is run by a separate company, the IDG technology media group. Apple said Phil Schiller, an Apple marketing executive, would give the company's presentation.
Some analysts have questioned the company's viability without Jobs, who has emphasized the design principles that made standouts out of Apple's Mac computers, iPods and iPhones. Monday's announcement isn't likely to end the speculation, unless Apple offers more details on Jobs' condition, said AmTech Research analyst Brian Marshall. He said he expects Jobs to step down sometime this year.
In his letter Monday, Jobs said he has begun treatment, but it will take time to regain the weight. "I will be the first one to step up and tell our board of directors if I can no longer continue to fulfill my duties as Apple's CEO."