From the titans of high technology to teenagers armed with iPads, millions of people around the world mourned digital-gadget genius Steve Jobs as a man whose wizardry transformed their lives in big ways and small.
Computer fans in China, one of Apple's fastest growing markets, seemed particularly moved.
"I came here to see how they'll operate on the first day after they had lost Steve Jobs," Jin Yi said in China's biggest Apple store in Shanghai, which opened last month.
"I also came here to mourn in my own way. It is such a pity today. He created these gadgets that changed people's perceptions of machines," the 27-year-old said. "But he did not manage to witness the last step in which, through his gadgets, people's lives can be effectively fused with these machines."
Steve Jobs, 1955-2011
Henry Men Youngfan said he was shocked by the news that his hero had died, remembering how he felt when he entered graduate school at Peking University's college of engineering.
"My teachers asked me what kind of person I wanted to be and I told them I wanted to be like Steve," Men said in Beijing.
Li Zilong, who was listening to his iPod in front of a Beijing Apple store, worried that Apple's innovation may have died along with its co-founder.
"Jobs was a legendary figure; every company needs a spiritual leader," said the 20-year-old university student. "Without Jobs, I don't know if Apple can give us more classic products, like the iPhone 4."PhotoBlog: Pictures of worldwide tributes to Steve Jobs
In other parts of Asia, fans for whom the Apple brand became a near-religion grasped for comparisons to history's great innovators, as well as its celebrities, to honor the man they credit with putting 1,000 songs and the Internet in their pockets.The Internet mourns, celebrates Steve Jobs
In Hong Kong, Charanchee Chiu laid a single sunflower and white rose in front of the city center Apple store.
"I am sad. I think he should have lived longer," he said, acknowledging that he had sent messages to Jobs to advise him on health and Tai Chi, the Chinese form of martial arts reputed to improve practitioners' well-being.
Amalia Sari in Jakarta, Indonesia, said when her mother was diagnosed with terminal cancer just over a year ago, she decided to go on a monthlong pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia. She bought an iPad for her mom to look at photos sent home and to keep in touch via Apple video conference.
"Without Steve Jobs and his crazy inventions, that kind of thing would never have been possible," she said, adding that after getting the first tweet about Job's death she logged off because she couldn't bear to hear more about it.
"I was really sobbing. It is great loss for me, and for the world as well," she said.Chinese Apple fans say farewell to 'Master Jobs'
Stephen Jarjoura, 43, said at the flagship Apple store in Australia's biggest city, Sydney, that Jobs' legacy would surpass that of even Albert Einstein and Thomas Edison.
"I was so saddened. For me it was like Michael Jackson or Princess Diana — that magnitude," he said.
Australia's Prime Minister Julia Gillard said Jobs had affected many around the world.
"All of us would be touched every day by products that he was the creative genius behind, so this is very sad news and my condolences go to his family and friends," she said, according to the BBC.
Apples shares on the stock exchange in Frankfurt, Germany, took a hit after after the news was announced.
At 2:16 a.m. ET, the company's shares listed on the Frankfurt stock exchange were 3.3 percent lower.
The death of the man behind iconic products that define his generation — iPod, the iPhone, the iPad — overshadowed concerns about the European economic crisis, at least momentarily, market insiders said.
"This news shrouds even the ongoing discussions on the financial crisis, at least for today," said Roger Peeters, board member at Close Brothers Seydler.
Corporate giants that have all been bruised in dustups with Apple put their rivalries aside to remember Jobs.
Few companies felt Apple's rise more than Japan's Sony, whose iconic Walkman transformed the music listening experience in the 1980s but which proved no match for Apple's iPod after it launched in 2001.
"The digital age has lost its leading light, but Steve's innovation and creativity will inspire dreamers and thinkers for generations," Sony Corp. President and Chief Executive Howard Stringer said in a statement.
Competing companies that watched as Apple's sales — and its stock price — took off over the past decade posted messages of admiration.
Samsung is calling rival Steve Jobs an "innovative spirit" who will be remembered forever.
Samsung Electronics CEO G.S. Choi said Thursday that Jobs "introduced numerous revolutionary changes to the information technology industry."
The announcement of Jobs' death came a day after Samsung said it would file court injunctions in France and Italy seeking to block the sale of Apple's latest iPhone.
The smartphone giants are locked in an intensifying patent fight.
Choi says Jobs' "innovative spirit and remarkable accomplishments will forever be remembered by people around the world."
The companies have been at odds since April when Apple took legal actions claiming Samsung's Galaxy line of smartphones and tablet computers copy the iPhone and iPad.
"I wouldn't be able to run my business without Apple, without its software," said David Chiverton, who was leaving Apple's flagship Regent Street store in London. "I run a video production company. It's allowed me to have my dream business."
News Corp CEO Rupert Murdoch said, "Steve Jobs was simply the greatest CEO of his generation."
At an Apple store in Sydney, lawyer George Raptis, who was five years old when he first used a Macintosh computer, spoke for almost everyone who has come into contact with Apple. "He's changed the face of computing," he said. "There will only ever be one Steve Jobs."
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