President of Nintendo Satoru Iwata has died aged 55. Nintendo confirmed his passing in a statement released earlier this morning.
“Nintendo Co., Ltd. deeply regrets to announce that President Satoru Iwata passed away on July 11, 2015 due to a bile duct growth,” it reads.
Iwata was not on hand for E3 in 2014 following orders from his doctor against travelling overseas. He then underwent surgery for a growth discovered in his bile duct. Iwata himself indicated to company shareholders that this was ailment that could prove difficult to treat.
Iwata was Nintendo’s fourth president, having to fill the profoundly big shoes of the late Hiroshi Yamauchi, the man who turned Nintendo into a video game juggernaut. Iwata had formerly worked as a programmer for HAL Laboratory, developer of the Kirby and Super Smash Bros. series. He assumed the role of president in 2002 following Yamauchi’s retirement.
Iwata’s tenure as president saw the creation of two of the company’s biggest runaway successes. The Nintendo DS handheld and Nintendo Wii have been credited with a substantive broadening of the world wide video game market over the last ten years.
Rest in peace, Mr. Iwata. You did it your way and succeeded, even when the whole world told you that you couldn’t. You will be missed.