Hospital Confirms Jobs' Liver Transplant

Apple CEO and co-founder Steve Jobs had a liver transplant at a Memphis, Tenn., hospital and is rcovering well, the hospital announced today in a statement on its Web site.

The statement from Methodist University Hospital Transplant Institute comes after several days of intense speculation about Jobs' health -- and his company's future, after a report Saturday that the 54-year-old Apple boss had received a new liver two months ago.

In the statement, Dr. James Eason, the program director and chief of transplantation, did not say when the operation occurred, but said that Jobs "is now recovering well and has an excellent prognosis."

The announcement was made with Jobs' permission, according to the statement.

The hospital statement also explained how Jobs qualified for the transplant.

"Mr. Jobs underwent a complete transplant evaluation and was listed for transplantation for an approved indication in accordance with the Transplant Institute policies and United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) policies," the statement said.

"He received a liver transplant because he was the patient with the highest MELD score (Model for End-Stage Liver Disease) of his blood type and, therefore, the sickest patient on the waiting list at the time a donor organ became available," it said.

Jobs' health -- and what it could mean for the future of Apple -- has been a hot topic ever since January, when he said he would take six months of medical leave.

Shares slumped 4 percent the day he announced his leave and analysts pondered what would become of a company practically synonymous with its CEO's name, and criticized the company for the handling of the health issue.

"The problem for Apple is they should disclose fully or they probably shouldn't disclose anything," independent technology analyst Rob Enderle said. "Throughout much of this period, disclosures revealed that he was at little risk -- that he was recovering from some kind of imbalance. After the fact, [it's revealed that] not only did he have surgery but it might have been life threatening."

Apple: Jobs to Return at End of June

When the Wall Street Journal first reported that Jobs had the transplant, it did not name the source for the information and did not provide specifics on where or when Jobs had the transplant, beyond identifying the state.

But it noted that the waiting time for donated livers is substantially shorter in Tennessee than it is elsewhere.

At the time, Apple spokespeople would not confirm that the surgery had taken place.

"Steve continues to look forward to returning to Apple at the end of June and there is nothing further to say," Apple's Steve Dowling said in an e-mail to ABC News.

But Apple's silence did not stopped others from talking.

"There was definitely a surprise that it was as major of a recovery as it was," said Gene Munster, a senior research analyst for Piper Jaffray. "Given the fact that it was a liver transplant, there's probably going to be continuing questions about his health for a long time."

Noting the amount of influence Jobs wields over the company, Enderle emphasized his obligation to not mislead investors on matters related to his health.

How Much Does Jobs Need to Disclose About His Health?

Although he acknowledged that Jobs has a right to his privacy, he said, "There's no middle ground these days where you're allowed to cover up or lie about information that's material to the company."

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