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Steve Jobs turned down liver transplant from Tim Cook, new biography reveals

Steve Jobs casts a long shadow for a man who’s been gone for four years. Tech pundits and investors pretend to know what he’d think of Apple’s latest products, Apple employees invoke his name in most interviews, and iPhone fans speak his name with reverence.  Every now and then, new tidbits about his life and reign at Apple surface. Most recently, the new biography, Becoming Steve Jobshas created quite a stir with some of its revelations.

Perhaps the most interesting new tale comes from the last years of Jobs’ life, when he was suffering from pancreatic cancer. According to interviews held with current CEO Tim Cook, Jobs turned him down when he offered a partial liver transplant.

Related: Tim Cook commemorates Steve Jobs birthday on Twitter

“One afternoon, Cook left the house feeling so upset that he had his own blood tested. He found out that he, like Steve, had a rare blood type, and guessed that it might be the same. He started doing research, and learned that it is possible to transfer a portion of a living person’s liver to someone in need of a transplant,” an excerpt of the book obtained from Fast Company reveals.

When Cook approached Jobs with the offer of a partial liver transplant, Jobs was quick to turn him down.

“He cut me off at the legs, almost before the words were out of my mouth,” said Cook. “‘No,’ he said. ‘I’ll never let you do that. I’ll never do that.'”

“Somebody that’s selfish,” Cook added “doesn’t reply like that. I mean, here’s a guy, he’s dying, he’s very close to death because of his liver issue, and here’s someone healthy offering a way out. 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.’ 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.”

The book also delves deeply into Jobs’ relationships with Jony Ive and other Apple employees, while highlighting key business decisions that Jobs considered or discarded.

If you’re interested in reading the new biography, it’s available for purchase on Amazon.