Satoru Iwata, the president of Nintendo, has passed away. He was 55.
Nintendo announced the tragic news in a brief statement, listing his cause of death as “a bile duct growth.”
Iwata’s health had been declining for some time. In 2014, he missed the E3 conference in Los Angeles on advice of his physician. He underwent what was believed to have been successful surgery shortly thereafter.
Iwata’s career began as a developer with Nintendo subsidiary HAL Laboratories, where he worked on popular Nintendo games such as Balloon Fight and Earthbound. He became president of HAL in 1993. Seven years later he became the head of corporate planning at Nintendo proper, a title he held for only two years. In 2002, Iwata succeeded longtime company president Hiroshi Yamauchi to become only the fourth president in Nintendo’s history.
Greatly admired by gamers and peers, Iwata steered Nintendo through some of its brightest days. During his tenure, Nintendo released the DS line of handhelds — the best-selling video game system of all-time — as well as the wildly popular Wii console.