The Internet and social networks like Facebook and Twitter immediately lit up Wednesday night with the news of the death of Apple Chairman Steve Jobs.
Jobs, who was 56, had a legion of enthusiastic admirers in the high-tech world, as well as an enthusiastic and loyal following in the mainstream of people who loved their Apple-created devices and computers.
That admiration showed Wednesday in the expressions of surprise and sadness at Jobs' passing.
At Twitter, the microblogging site struggled with the flood of tweets after the news of Jobs' death and with tributes to the man. At one point, five of the site's top 10 trending topics were related to Jobs -- RIP Steve Jobs, #ThankYouSteve, iHeaven, iClouds and Only 56.
While many people simply tweeted the familiar Apple symbol, others reflected on his achievements and how profoundly Jobs changed the world of personal computing devices.
Someone identified as Mattchew03 tweeted, "It's crazy to think about how many people are sharing the news of Steve Jobs' death using devices he invented." And the folks working on NASA's Kepler mission tweeted, "Your innovative vision inspired a world beyond its limits. You will be profoundly missed. Thank you Steve Jobs. RIP."
Others, like ryan, simply tweeted, "So long, Steve."
On Facebook, users' news feeds quickly filled up with news and reaction to Jobs' passing.
Christine Dotts of Intel posted, "Makes me sad. A legend." And Patricia Keefe posted, "I don't know why I am so shocked - but I am... Very sad, and much too soon. There will never be another like him."
Mark Zuckerberg, co-founder of Facebook, offered his own post about Jobs, writing, "Steve, thank you for being a mentor and a friend. Thanks for showing that what you build can change the world. I will miss you."
Within 14 minutes, more than 53,000 people "liked" his post and 43 commented on it.
Sharon Gaudin covers the Internet and Web 2.0, emerging technologies, and desktop and laptop chips for Computerworld. Follow Sharon on Twitter at @sgaudin, or subscribe to Sharon's RSS feed . Her email address is email@example.com.