Satoru Iwata, who has been Nintendo’s president since 2002, passed away yesterday at age 55 due to a bile duct growth. Satoru Iwata was forced to skip E3 last year due to his poor health. It was later revealed he underwent surgery to remove a tumour on his bile duct, but sadly the ailment proved fatal.
Nintendo announced Satoru Iwata’s death in a short statement. “Nintendo Co., Ltd. deeply regrets to announce that President Satoru Iwata passed away on July 11, 2015 due to a bile duct growth.”
Nintendo’s remaining two representatives are Genyo Takeda and Shigeru Miyamoto, who are both representative directors and senior managing directors. Miyamoto is known for creating some of Nintendo’s most popular franchises, such as Mario and The Legend Of Zelda, while Takeda’s role has focused on improving Nintendo hardware.
Satoru Iwata essentially spent his whole career at Nintendo. He first joined HAL Laboratory (a studio closely affiliated with Nintendo) back in 1980 as a programmer. After working on several games, such as Balloon Fight, Earthbound, and Kirby, he was promoted to president on HAL in 1993. He later joined Nintendo as a director in 2000. Two years later, he succeeded Hiroshi Yamauchi and became Nintendo’s fourth president. In 2013, he als0 became Nintendo Of America’s CEO. He was the company’s first president who wasn’t related to the Yamauchi family through blood or marriage.
Iwata’s time as president saw some of Nintendo’s greatest successes and failures. He was at the helm for the release of the DS and the Wii, consoles that enjoyed huge mainstream success. But he was also in charge over many commercial failures, such as the GameCube and the Wii U. He also hosted the Nintendo Direct programs, which gained him a devoted following of fans.