Nintendo has issued a brief statement to inform the public that Satoru Iwata passed away over the weekend.
Iwata, 55, had experienced significant health problems over the past couple of years, preventing his appearance at E3 2014. A tumor in his bile duct was detected and operated on in 2014, and at the time Iwata was optimistic about the growth’s early detection, though his recovery from the surgery did cause him to miss a shareholder’s meeting.
His death is as a result of this same tumor.
Satoru Iwata was Nintendo’s fourth president and CEO of Nintendo since 2013 — the first person outside the Yamauchi family to assume this position. One of his first decisions as CEO was to implement Nintendo Direct broadcasts throughout the year.
Iwata began his career as a freelancer for HAL Laboratory, Inc. during his college years, and was employed on a full-time basis upon graduation. During the 80s, he had a hand in creating Earthbound, Kirby and Balloon Fight. In the 90s, he was promoted to president of HAL and served as a producer for Super Smash Bros. In 2000, Iwata moved over to Nintendo and continued his path from success to success, becoming its president in 2002 and CEO in 2013.
Iwata’s humor and approachable personality made him popular among fans, and these are just two among many reasons that he will be sorely missed by the gaming community.