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”.
A talented programmer, 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.
Satoru Iwata had been at the heart of Nintendo for 15 years, frequently being described by those that knew him as a CEO with the heart of a gamer. An irrepressibly good nature coupled with a tireless work ethic had also made Mr Iwata extremely popular with fans. Prior to his work with Nintendo, Mr Iwata worked as a programmer at HAL Laboratory and was instrumental in the development of games such as the Kirby, Earthbound and Balloon Fight series’.
At Nintendo headquaters, a flag is being flown at half mast in a state of mourning. Satoru had been absent from public shows for some time as he recovered from surgery in a bid to remove the tumor in 2014 and was recently absent from E3, sighting that he wished to focus on Nintendo’s other areas. It is believed that two representative directors, Genyo Takeda and Shigeru Miyamoto will take over Iwata’s duties.
There has been an outpouring of grief on social media by friends, colleagues and fans paying their respects to Iwata.
“I found out then that engineering is not quite as important as imagination.” —#SatoruIwata (1959-2015), #Nintendo CEO
— Christofer Sundberg (@CHSundberg) July 13, 2015
#SatoruIwata#RestInPeace You will be missed… but will also live in our hearts and imagination. pic.twitter.com/LVokktXCap
— Shonen (@ShonenStyle) July 13, 2015
Farewell, Satoru Iwata. He brought a wealth of imagination to the world of #Nintendo! pic.twitter.com/4s3pytyJfw
— James Sims (@SimsJames) July 13, 2015
Satoru Iwata is survived by his wife Kayoko and funeral services are planned to be held on July 17th. We offer our deepest condolences to all at Nintendo and to Satoru Iwata’s family, he will be sorely missed.
An immensely popular figure both within the industry and with Nintendo fans, he will be sorely missed. Rest in Peace, Mr. Iwata.