Nintendo has just issued a short statement announcing that president Satoru Iwata has passed away at the age of 55. The statement reads: Nintendo Co., Ltd. deeply regrets to announce that President Satoru Iwata passed away on July 11, 2015 due to a bile duct growth. Iwata was forced to skip last year’s E3 due to his poor health, and shortly afterwards underwent surgery to remove the bile duct growth. A few months later, in the wake of concerns over his health, he said via Twitter “I’m progressing well”.
Iwata first joined Nintendo’s HAL Laboratory in the 1980s, where he worked on games like Balloon Fight and EarthBound. He became a Director of the company in 2000, and in 2002 was appointed as only the fourth President of Nintendo when he succeeded Hiroshi Yamauchi. 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. In recent times, he developed almost cult status as the host of the Nintendo Direct programs.
An immensely popular figure both within the industry and with Nintendo fans, he will be sorely missed. Rest in Peace, Mr. Iwata. Satoru Iwata started his gaming career when he joined HAL Laboratory following his graduation from university. He became the company’s president in 1993. Iwata became a part of Nintendo in 2000, and took over as president in 2002. Iwata has regularly appeared in Nintendo Direct presentations to provide updates directly to fans over the past few years. He was also in charge of the Iwata Asks interview series, which provided interesting looks into the development of Nintendo games.