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Steve Jobs goes on medical leave, Tim Cook to run Apple in the meantime

Steve Jobs, the iconic CEO of Apple, has been granted permission by Apple's board of directors to take a medical leave of absence.

Steve Jobs, the iconic chief exec of Apple, has been granted permission by the company's board of directors to take a medical leave of absence. He has placed chief operating officer Tim Cook in charge of the iPhone maker's day-to-day activities.

Jobs has battled pancreatic cancer for several years.

In an email sent from Jobs to all Apple employees, Jobs says, "At my request, the board of directors has granted me a medical leave of absence so I can focus on my health. I will continue as CEO and be involved in major strategic decisions for the company."

So this definitely shouldn't be taken as him stepping down as head honcho of JobsCo -- he's still the brains behind the company's big moves. Cook, however, will be taking the reins of day-to-day company management.

"I have great confidence," Jobs said in the email, "that Tim and the rest of the executive management team will do a terrific job executing the exciting plans we have in place for 2011." This suggests Jobs plans to be away from Cupertino for the best part of this year.

Cook ran Apple in Jobs' absence in 2004, when he was first treated for pancreatic cancer, and again in 2009 when he took the first half of the year off, again in service of his health. "I have learned that my health-related issues are more complex than I originally thought," Jobs said of his second absence.

Although Jobs' health concerns have been the subject of huge speculation for years, given his critical importance to Apple, he's rarely made comment on the specifics of his health problems, and we're unlikely to hear exactly what's wrong this time -- not from Jobs himself anyway.

Jobs was accidentally declared dead in 2008 when Bloomberg News mistakenly published an obituary of the Apple bigwig, and he once cheekily ended a portion of a press conference by posting his blood pressure up on the presentation screen.

Crave wishes Big Steve all the best, and hopes he's back at the top of his black-polonecked game very soon.