After long speculation about his health, including even an accidentally published obituary, Steve Jobs announced Wednesday that he will temporarily step will temporarily step down as Apple CEO due to health reasons. Jobs lists the ongoing “curiosity” about his health to be the main reason for stepping down. “In addition, during the past week I have learned that my health-related issues are more complex than I originally thought,” says the letter he wrote to Apple employees announcing his leave of absence.

Jobs will return from the leave of absence in June.

Wednesday’s news was stunning in light of Jobs’ announcement just nine days before that he’d been diagnosed with a hormone imbalance whose “is relatively simple and straightforward,” and that he expected to be cured by spring. Questions about Jobs’ health have abounded since he battled a rare form of pancreatic cancer in 2004, and increased in 2008.

With the news, Apple shares dropped 8.5% to $78.02 in after-hours trading, and will probably fall further tomorrow.

“"This is the biggest wake up call for the investor community to come to the reality that there will be a post Steve Jobs Apple," said Gene Munster, an analyst with Piper Jaffray, in the Wall Street Journal.

As Apple has consistently downplayed Jobs' health, there is a chance that is still still happening, and that Jobs' time as CEO is finished.

Apple COO Tim Cook will take on Jobs’ duty for day-to-day operations during his absence. Cook filled in for Jobs during the CEO’s cancer treatments in 2004.

By Mark Alvarez