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Sunday, October 30, 2011, 07:31 pm PT (10:31 pm ET)

Steve Jobs' sister shares his final moments, last words

Novelist Mona Simpson, Apple co-founder Steve Jobs' biological sister, has shared her eulogy for her brother, offering an intimate look at the last moments before he died, including his surprising last words.

The New York Times published Simpson's eulogy, which was shared at a memorial service for Jobs on Oct. 16 at Stanford Memorial Church. She wrote how as a young girl she had hoped for her absent father to be "rich and kind and come into our lives…and help" her and her mom. Her dream eventually came true, but through her brother, rather than her father.

"Even as a feminist, my whole life I’d been waiting for a man to love, who could love me. For decades, I’d thought that man would be my father. When I was 25, I met that man and he was my brother," she wrote.

Jobs, who was adopted, didn't meet Simpson until they were both adults. While living in New York, Simpson was contacted by a lawyer in 1985 who notified her that her long-lost brother was "rich and famous."

The lawyer refused to disclose his client's name, so Simpson's coworkers started a betting pool with actor John Travolta as the leading candidate. She shared that she secretly hoped that he was "a literary descendant of Henry James — someone more talented than [her], someone brilliant without even trying."

"When I met Steve, he was a guy my age in jeans, Arab- or Jewish-looking and handsomer than Omar Sharif," she wrote.

Jobs and Simpson went for a long walk, where he explained that he was in the computer business. Simpson said she had yet to buy a computer and was considering buying a Cromemco. Jobs told her that it was a good thing she'd waited, as he was working on something that was going to be "insanely beautiful."

Steve Jobs


Simpson went on to share things she had learned from Jobs during three distinct periods that she called "states of being:" his full life, his illness and his dying.

According to her, Jobs wasn't ashamed of working hard even if "the results were failures." After being ousted from Apple, he was disappointed, especially when he wasn't invited to a meeting of 500 Silicon Valley leaders with the then U.S. president, but he still worked hard at the new company he had started, NeXT.

"Novelty was not Steve’s highest value. Beauty was," Simpson said, noting that he probably owned enough trademark black cotton turtleneck shirts for everyone at the memorial service.

Similar to an earlier essay where Jobs' first serious girlfriend shared about Jobs, Simpson shared how much of a romantic her brother was.

"[Jobs] was like a girl in the amount of time he spent talking about love. Love was his supreme virtue, his god of gods," she wrote, noting that he would often call out to men he thought women would consider attractive to see if they would come to dinner with Simpson.

Simpson also shared how much Jobs was in love with his wife, Laurene, saying that his love for her "sustained him."

When Jobs became ill, his family "watched his life compress into a smaller circle," Simpson wrote. After his liver transplant in 2009, he had to relearn how to walk.

"He tried. He always, always tried, and always with love at the core of that effort. He was an intensely emotional man," she said.

Jobs endured the pain for his family, setting goals for himself: his son's high school graduation, a trip to Japan with his daughter, the launching of a boat he was building that he hoped to retire on with his wife. But, some of his goals he was unable to meet. Jobs passed away on Oct. 5 at age 56 after a years-long fight with cancer.

Recounting the manner in which Jobs approached death, Simpson said "what he was, was how he died." According to her, "death didn’t happen to Steve, he achieved it," adding that, as his breathing slowed, "he seemed to be climbing."

To conclude, Simpson shared how Jobs' final words as he looked at his sister Patty, his children and his wife, then over their shoulders, were "OH WOW. OH WOW. OH WOW."