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Apple Co-Founder Steve Jobs Posthumously Receives a Presidential Medal of Freedom

Other recipients include Olympians Simone Biles and Megan Rapinoe, former US Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and actor Denzel Washington.

Apple CEO Steve Jobs, holding a MacBook Air
Apple co-founder Steve Jobs helped develop the Macintosh, iPod and iPhone.
Apple

Apple co-founder Steve Jobs was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom during a ceremony at the White House on Thursday, recognizing his accomplishments as the head of Apple and Pixar, as well as his leading role at the Walt Disney Company.

"What Steve left us is something special," President Joe Biden said during the ceremony. "Technology with the capacity to improve our lives in ways that haven't even yet been thought of." Biden also said that Jobs embodied the "core" of American character. 

Biden's recognition for Jobs marks the latest accolades the former Apple CEO has received since he died of cancer in 2011. He received an Edison Lifetime Achievement Award in 2012, honoring the "successful development and launch of game-changing new products and services" as well as his "lasting contribution to innovation." In 2013, Jobs received a Disney Legends Award for his contribution "to the Disney legacy" as Pixar's CEO and later a board member.

On Thursday, Apple CEO Tim Cook said in a tweet that Jobs "was a visionary who challenged us to see the world not for what it is, but for what it could be. We cherish his memory and we'll continue building on his legacy."

The medal was awarded just a week after the 15th anniversary of the launch of the original iPhone.

The Presidential Medal of Freedom is the highest civilian honor in the US. Basketball star Michael Jordan received the honor in 2016, as did entertainment Oprah Winfrey in 2015 and feminist activist Gloria Steinem in 2013.

Others have received the award posthumously, including civil rights giant the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in 1977 and music legend Elvis Presley and baseball great Babe Ruth, both in 2018.

This year's 17 recipients also include two Olympic gold medal winners, gymnastics icon Simone Biles and soccer star Megan Rapinoe, as well as former US Rep. and gun-safety advocate Gabrielle Giffords and actor Denzel Washington.