An image of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs is projected inside the Apple store… (Luis Sinco, Los Angeles…)
Reporting from Cupertino, Calif. — From Apple Inc.'s secretive headquarters in the Silicon Valley to its sleek stores around the world, employees and fans were stunned by the news of the death of the man they universally called Steve, even though it was known he was gravely ill.
Flags flew at half-staff at the company's sprawling campus here, where workers described the mood inside as eerie and somber. Hardware engineer Henry Dai was at an afternoon meeting when news of Steve Jobs' death came in an email to employees from Chief Executive Tim Cook. First, Dai said, everyone in the room got quiet.
"But we had to resume the meeting right away," said Dai, 41. "We had to work. It was the right thing to do. It's what he would have wanted."
PHOTOS: Admirers remember Steve Jobs
Employees milled about outside as work let out, waiting for shuttle buses home, reminiscing and snapping photos with their phones.
Mike Korinek, a 29-year-old packaging designer, said he hadn't worked at the company long and hadn't "had the chance to meet Steve, but it's a very, very sad
"I'm working extra hours for the man and his legacy."
Outside Apple stores, makeshift shrines appeared within hours of the announcement of Jobs' death.
Chris Cunningham quietly walked up to the Pasadena store and set down one white rose and a red apple on which he had carefully carved "bye."
"It's really sad, he's gone," said Cunningham, 39, a private school administrative worker, teary and wearing a shirt with the blue Apple icon on it. "The future of his legacy is in other hands. It's just terrible."
So many fans gathered at the Santa Monica store that an Apple employee came from inside — where business continued uninterrupted — and politely asked the mourners to step back and not block the entrance.
"Steve Jobs was one of the great inventors, certainly of our time," said John Peed, 41, of Malibu, owner of a graphics design firm who said he came to the store "just to pay homage."
He said he has about 40 Apple computers at his business.
Britney McLaughlin, 24, of Hollywood credited her iPhone with making Southern California livable. "I wouldn't be able to get around without it," she said.
Outside a store in New York's SoHo district, Victoria Southwell, 67, came to pay her respects, even though she doesn't own any Apple products. He was "an old hippie and a beautiful guy," she said of Jobs.
And in Beijing, Xiuqing Yang, 25, came to one of the two stores in the city "so I can mourn." The elementary school teacher said he owns a MacBook laptop, iPad, iPhone 4, iPod and iPod Touch.
"Not everything from America is great," Yang said, "but everything from Apple is great."
Outside, bouquets of white flowers — traditional for mourning in China — had been left near the entrance. Nearby was a handwritten sign that read "THX."
FULL COVERAGE: The death of Steve Jobs
Times staff writers David Lazarus and Shan Li in Los Angeles, Nathaniel Popper in New York and David Pierson in Beijing contributed to this report.