SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Apple Inc fans paid tribute to Steve Jobs on Wednesday, but expressed mostly sadness at his resignation as CEO and aired their fears for the health of the technology giant's guiding visionary.
Jobs, who has been on medical leave since January, will carry on as chairman of the company he co-founded in the late 1970s, but it is unclear how much he will contribute.
"Go out while you're still on stop - well played, Steve Jobs. Well played," tweeted a user called Lance Robotson, under the hashtag "#fanboy", the half-mocking slang for Apple fanatics.
"Live long Mr. Jobs", a user called 'tmizerek' posted on AppleInsider, a news site for Apple followers.
"Please God don't let him be that sick" added 'guch20'
Apple's go-it-alone philosophy and sleek gadgets have attracted legions of fanatically obsessed, mostly male, followers over the years. They worship the company as the antithesis of Microsoft Corp, which they view as hopelessly clunky and corporate.
"Not gonna lie - I teared up upon the #stevejobs news," said Bob Skrezyna, who goes by 'wordrebel' on Twitter. He added the hashtags #fanboy, #notashamed and #applejustworks.
"Gonna sit in a darkened room and cry about the Steve Jobs news," tweeted Will Orchard, under the handle WJFOrchard.
"I really hope this doesn't come across as crass, but I don't want to see a Steve Jobs obit for a long time," commented 'Santoanderson' on AppleInsider.
SHOPPERS, EMPLOYEES CARRY ON
Apple shoppers and employees were less emotional.
At the company's flagship San Francisco store, the only sign something was amiss was a couple of groups of employees, huddled together discussing the news. They heard by word of mouth, they said, with no formal announcement by late afternoon to retail workers.
Some customers had already heard.
Robert Cory, waiting for help with a broken laptop, learned of Jobs' resignation from a news alert on his phone. "I feel bad," said the New York resident. "But Apple will be okay."
Other customers echoed that sentiment. San Francisco resident Erich Blazeski proclaimed that "Apple is not Steve Jobs".
Honeymooning British tourist Stuart Marsten-Smith said that a vast team is involved in the design of Apple products. But Andre Reznik, visiting from Russia, said while things would likely continue in the same way for a year or two, he expected medium- and longer-term changes with the new chief executive, Tim Cook.
Cook may have to elevate his profile in the company if he is to fill Jobs' shoes.