It was just last week Jobs said doctors thought they had found the cause of his weight loss -- a hormonal imbalance that had been robbing his body of proteins.
But Wednesday in an e-mail, Jobs told Apple employees his health related issues are "more complex" than originally thought. He went on to say "in order to take myself out of the limelight and focus on my health, and to allow everyone at Apple to focus on delivering extraordinary products, I have decided to take a medical leave of absence until the end of June."
"I think the real issue is that Apple, the board and Steve are really determined to get Steve healthy so he can lead Apple going forward," technology analyst and CEO of Creative Strategies Tim Bejarin said.
In October, Jobs made light of his rumored health problems during a laptop presentation. He joked with the crowd as he put his blood pressure information on the big screen.
Now, no one is laughing, and Apple's Chief Operating Officer Tim Cook will take over day-to-day responsibilities.
Last week, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak talked about the company's eventual future without Jobs at the helm.
"One of the responsibilities that Steve has is to make sure the company will thrive if someday he's not here, but I would hope that is a long way off," Wozniak said.
Jobs said in his e-mail he will remain involved in major strategic decisions, and Leslie Ayers, editor-in-chief of Mac Life magazine, expects the innovation to continue.
"Since the iPhone's release and the iPhone 3G, Apple has really wowed the world with the things they have released and I don't think that they want to stop that because the people who are still there, while he is not physically there, will keep working their hardest and best to impress him while he's gone," said Ayers.
But Apple stockholders have not responded well to the announcement. Apple's stock was down seven percent in afterhours trading.