Apple on Wednesday announced the death of its visionary co-founder Steve Jobs from cancer at 56.

"We are deeply saddened to announce that Steve Jobs passed away today," the company's board of directors said in a statement.

"Steve's brilliance, passion and energy were the source of countless innovations that enrich and improve all of our lives. The world is immeasurably better because of Steve.

"His greatest love was for his wife, Laurene, and his family. Our hearts go out to them and to all who were touched by his extraordinary gifts," the statement from the California-based gadget-maker said.

Jobs's death came the day after Apple unveiled the new iPhone 4S at its headquarters in Cupertino, California.

In the latter stages of his cancer battle, Jobs gave up the day-to-day running of the company but remained chairman of its board of directors.