Nintendo CEO and President Satoru Iwata has died at the age of 55. The Japanese gaming giant posted a brief note on its website regarding Iwata’s death that 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 had been struggling with the growth discovered on his bile duct for quite some time, because of which he could not attend last year’s E3. Shortly after which he underwent surgery to remove the bile duct growth and later responded to fans via Twitter – “I’m progressing well”.
He began his career at Nintendo as a programmer in the 1980s and worked on popular games like Ballon Fight, EarthBound and not to forget Kirby games. In the year 2000, he was made the director of the company while in May 2002, he was appointed as the president of Nintendo.
It was under Iwata’s leadership the company saw some pivotal launches including GameCube, Nintendo DS and 3DS, Wii and Wii U. He has seen the company’s strongest periods, notably the Wii back in 2000, along with the weakest points in the company’s history – the launch of the Wii U.
He also stressed the importance of open communication with fans, and almost achieved a cult status as the host of Nintendo direct programs. Notably his role as the host of ‘Iwata Asks’ series of game developer interviews, where he won the admiration of fans for his ‘friendly and irreverent attitude.’
The company is yet to announce as to who will be taking the responsibility as the next president. Though for now, Genyo Takeda and Shigeru Miyamoto will jointly run the company and share titles of representative director and senior managing director until a suitable successor is chosen.
Iwata was an immensely popular figure both within the gaming industry and among gaming enthusiasts. He was responsible for some of the biggest Nintendo titles during his tenure, with his departure the gaming industry has been robbed off a shining jewel who was more than just a high-ranking executive. Our condolences to Mr Iwata and his family and friends for his eternal contribution to the industry and fans. RIP Mr. Saturo Iwata.