Steve Jobs appeared gaunt at the 2011 Apple developers conference in June. His traditional black turtle neck, t-shirt and jeans, hung on him.
He sounded weak. He introduced the key presenters such as Mr Phil Schiller, Apple's marketing head.
But I believed Jobs was on stage to give heft to the product announcements and to show shareholders that he was still in charge.
He had been suffering since 2005, first from a rare form of pancreatic cancer, and then other illnesses related to it. Gradually he lost weight over the last five years.
He was at his thinnest this June. It was obvious the end was near.
The first time I was introduced to Apple and Steve Jobs was when I bought the Macintosh Classic in the early 80s. I used it only for writing and I found it was more intuitive than my first computer, a no-name PC compatible machine. The computer industry was then starting to blossom, and I began to read about Jobs and Apple.
In the past six weeks since he stepped down as chief executive of Apple, there have been many stories about the revolution he unleashed in the computer, mobile phone, music and animation industries.
But who is Steve?
His birth parents put him up for adoption because they were not well to do and they wanted him to have a university education. He did go to university, attended some classes, but dropped out.
He was a vegetarian whose favourite food was shredded carrot. Guests he invited to his home in Palo Alto, California, would be delighted but often, they went home hungry.
Steve was a perfectionist. When he wanted to start an Apple retail store, he had a real store built in a warehouse so that he could visit it, walk around it and think how best to display Apple products.
There are product committees which decide Apple's new gadgets. But only one man could give the green light for commercialisation.
Often, products that were commercially ready were sent back to the workbench to be re-worked because it did not meet Jobs' expectation. He was determined to keep what Apple was developing a secret.
To prevent leaks, product groups worked in isolation. No one knew the entire story. In such instances, leaks could easily be traced to the guilty party, who would then be fired.
When he was thrown out of Apple in 1984 after he lost a boardroom struggle, he contemplated leaving the computer industry. His soul searching led him to re-affirm his passion for computers and electronic gadgets.
So he founded NeXT, which was later sold to Apple and the rest is history.
CONVERTING THE UNCONVERTED
About six years ago, a Lianhe Zaobao colleague, Dr Ng Kin Kang, was with me in San Francisco to cover Jobs' keynote speech at Macworld expo. This was before Apple withdrew from Macworld three years ago.
We woke early to be at the Moscone expo centre at 7am for Jobs' keynote speech at 9am. The corridors to the hall were already packed. Every 15 minutes, we would shuffle a few steps forward.
'What's so great about this man that we have to queue like this?' asked Dr Ng. My response: 'We're going to listen to God'.
Naturally he was sceptical. Later, after Jobs' masterful performance introducing Apple's new products, Dr Ng said: 'He is so good. He's building gadgets that I want now and which I absolutely must have. He's incomparable.'
Even the way he planned his resignation as CEO was perfect. Insiders tell me he had formalised it the way he had led product developments.
His key lieutenants (his successor Tim Cook), software chief Scott Forstall, and Schiller, played greater roles in key product announcements. This was all practice for the day he would step down as CEO, which he did six weeks ago.
Jobs is tenacious, driven and resilient. He has rebounded many times from failure.
The best clue to his character is the 2005 Stanford commencement speech. That was the year his pancreatic cancer was first diagnosed.
He told the graduating students to follow their dreams, to have passion in what they do and to break out of dogma that could hold them back.
Death, he said, was inevitable. Live each day like it was the last, he said then, with so much conviction.
I've lost a role model. Goodbye Steve.