I saw that. Pretty sad. Hard to argue that it didn't have a good life. It saw a lot!
Several years ago, some young people contacted me about a project to graft scions from that tree on new rootstocks. This happened, and the progeny trees are now growing various places around Portland. If anyone ever wants to further propagate this lineage, contact me and I can help you track one down. The best guess of the variety is some sort of "greening" apple, best for cooking, so it would be more for historic interest than the actual fruit. email@example.com
The impression I have from the media coverage is that the tree is a seedling, and there are healthy root suckers still growing on the original tree.
To me, that means the tree lives on. I think the headlines are misleading and the reporting confused.
I heard about the demise in more than one place, including NPR. However, if as Jafar says, the root is sending up suckers, then the show ain't over, folks. Everything that I've read about the original apple is that it was seed-grown (i.e., NOT grafted). If this is the case, then the clone itself is not dead,... only the extremely elderly "top". We'll have to wait for awhile, but if indeed there are root sprouts then they'd be clonal. So far as I'm aware (--at least based on the earliest testimony--), the apples at the Vancouver Fort were seedlings (NOT grafted apples).
If it were to turn out that this apple tree was a grafted one, then it would explode some of the Romantic stories about its origins....