It sounded like something Jobs would say (and had said), but the press dubbed it "the Cook doctrine."
Jobs was rankled and deeply depressed, especially about the last line.
He didn't know whether to be proud or hurt that it might be true.
There was talk that he might step aside and become chairman rather than CEO.
That made him all the more motivated to get out of his bed, overcome the pain, and start taking his restorative long walks again.
A board meeting was scheduled a few days after he returned, and Jobs surprised everyone by making an appearance.
He ambled in and was able to stay for most of the meeting.
By early June he was holding daily meetings at his house, and by the end of the month he was back at work.
Would he now, after facing death, be more mellow?
His colleagues quickly got an answer.
On his first day back, he startled his top team by throwing a series of tantrums.
He ripped apart people he had not seen for six months,
tore up some marketing plans, and chewed out a couple of people whose work he found shoddy.
But what was truly telling was the pronouncement he made to a couple of friends late that afternoon.
"I had the greatest time being back today," he said. "I can't believe how creative I'm feeling, and how the whole team is."
Tim Cook took it in stride.
"I've never seen Steve hold back from expressing his view or passion," he later said. "But that was good."