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Tim Cook offered ailing Steve Jobs part of his liver, new bio says

A blunt "no!" was Jobs' response, according to a biography being published this month. It was one of the few times Jobs yelled at him in 13 years, Cook says in the book.

Tim Cook cared about Steve Jobs and even offered part of his liver to save Jobs' life. James Martin/CNET

Apple co-founder Steve Jobs was anything but selfish, his successor as CEO, Tim Cook, argues in a new book coming out later this month.

In 2009, Jobs was visibly ill and suffering from a side effect of cancer called ascites, and he was in need of a liver transplant. Cook, quoted in a new Jobs biography, called "Becoming Steve Jobs," says that he did some research and had his blood tested to see if it would match Jobs'. After discovering that it would, he offered to donate a portion of his liver to his boss.

"I said, 'Steve, I'm perfectly healthy, I've been checked out. Here's the medical report. I can do this and I'm not putting myself at risk, I'll be fine,'" Cook was quoted as saying in the book, according to an excerpt in Fast Company. "And he doesn't think about it. It was not, 'Are you sure you want to do this?' It was not, 'I'll think about it.' It was not, 'Oh, the condition I'm in . . .' It was, 'No, I'm not doing that!'

"He kind of popped up in bed and said that. And this was during a time when things were just terrible. Steve only yelled at me four or five times during the 13 years I knew him, and this was one of them."

Jobs died in October 2011 from complications related to pancreatic cancer. The Apple co-founder and CEO had been diagnosed with cancer in 2003 and underwent surgery in 2004 to have the tumor removed. While it was believed that the cancer was gone for good, Jobs suffered a series of health setbacks and in January 2009 announced a leave of absence, putting the company in the hands of Cook, at that time his chief operating officer.

Details on the period in 2009 when Jobs was sick and seeking options to improve his health have been hard to come by over the years, due in large part to Jobs' desire to keep his health problems out of the headlines.

Jobs didn't need to wait long for another option for his failing liver: in April 2009, he had a liver transplant, effectively saving his life and giving him more time to lead Apple.

Although doctors said after the transplant that his prognosis was excellent, Jobs continued to suffer from health issues. In August 2011, he resigned as Apple's chief executive, saying that he "could no longer meet my duties and expectations as Apple's CEO." He urged the board to appoint Cook in his place.

Cook told the authors of "Becoming Steve Jobs," Brent Schlender and Rick Tetzeli, that Jobs' decision to not take him up on the offer was act of selflessness and an unwillingness to put his number two under the knife. The comments were part of a broader interview with Cook.

"Becoming Steve Jobs" is set to hit bookshelves on March 24.

Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment.