Apple CEO Steve Jobs today told staffers in an email that his failing health has forced him to temporarily step down and hand over his daily duties to a surrogate. The memo comes in the wake of published reports last week—after Jobs was a no-show at the MacWorld Conference & Expo in San Francisco—that he was in ill health.

The computer exec, 53, last week revealed that he was suffering from an unspecified "hormonal imbalance" that had caused severe weight loss and kept him out of the public eye. Jobs was reportedly successfully treated for  pancreatic cancer in 2004.

But in today's memo, he said that his "health-related issues are more complex than [he] originally thought" and that the media attention on his "personal health" was a "distraction" for him, his family and "everyone else at Apple."

As a result, Jobs said he was taking himself "out of the limelight" and handing the daily operations over to the company's chief operating officer Tom Cook until the end of June, when he said he plans to get back in the saddle.

"As CEO, I plan to remain involved in major strategic decisions while I am out," he said, noting that his move has the support of Apple's board of directors.

Image courtesy of Acaben