Nintendo President Satoru Iwata has sadly passed away at the age of 55. The video game company has issued a short statement, it reads,
“Nintendo Co., Ltd. deeply regrets to announce that President Satoru Iwata passed away on July 11, 2015 due to a bile duct growth.”
In 2014, Nintendo announced Iwata would not be attending E3 (Electronic Entertainment Expo) due to a bile duct growth: he underwent surgery shortly after.
In November he updated supporters that he was progressing well via Twitter and thanked the hospital staff for their assistance.
Iwata started out as a programmer for Nintendo’s HAL Laboratory in the 1980s, where he worked on games like Balloon Fight, EarthBound and the Kirby games. He became head of Nintendo’s corporate planning division in 2000 and in only 2 years he was promoted to head the company as its forth President, following on from Hiroshi Yamauchi. Wii and Nintendo DS consoles were launched under his leadership and Iwata is credited with allowing the company to broaden the gaming community via easy-to-use consoles.
As Luke Plunkett from Kotaku writes, “In his time as President, Iwata oversaw some of the strongest (Wii, DS) and weakest (GameCube, Wii U) periods in Nintendo’s history as a video game company.”
Fans of Iwata’s innovation have taken to social media already to express their grief. RIP Satoru Iwata.