10/20/2011 04:28 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Walter Isaacson On '60 Minutes' Talks Steve Jobs Biography (VIDEO)

(Reuters) - Apple Inc co-founder Steve Jobs refused potentially life-saving cancer surgery for nine months, shrugging off protests from his family and opting instead for alternative medicine, according to the tech visionary's biographer.

When Jobs eventually sought surgery, the rare form of pancreatic cancer had spread to the tissues surrounding the organ, biographer Walter Isaacson said in an interview with "60 Minutes" on CBS, to be aired on Sunday.

Jobs also played down the seriousness of his condition and told everyone he was cured but kept receiving treatment in secret, Isaacson said in the interview, excerpts of which CBS released on Thursday.

Isaacson confirmed details that had previously been speculated upon or widely reported, including that Jobs might have been cured of his "slow-growing" cancer had he sought professional treatment sooner, rather than resorting to unconventional means.

"He tries to treat it with diet. He goes to spiritualists. He goes to various ways of doing it macrobiotically and he doesn't get an operation," Isaacson said in the interview.

Jobs deeply regretted putting off a decision that might have ultimately saved his life, according to Isaacson.

"I think that he kind of felt that if you ignore something, if you don't want something to exist, you can have magical thinking .... We talked about this a lot," he said.

The biographer did not specify which surgical procedure he was referring to in his interview ahead of the October 24 release of the biography.

Jobs announced in August 2004 that he had undergone surgery to remove a cancerous tumor from his pancreas. In 2008 and 2009 -- as his dwindling weight stirred increasing alarm in Silicon Valley and on Wall Street -- he said first he was fighting a "common bug," then that he was suffering from a hormone imbalance.

In 2009, news emerged that he had undergone a liver transplant.

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(Reporting by Poornima Gupta and Edwin Chan; Editing by Richard Chang)

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