Nintendo’s long standing President, Satoru Iwata, has died aged 55 from cancer.
Satoru Iwata was born and raised in Sapporo, on Japan’s northern island of Hokkaido, where his father was a local politician.
He joined second-party HAL Laboratory in the early 1980s, where he worked on such games as Balloon Fight, Earthbound and Kirby.
In 1995 he helped set up Pokémon developer Creatures, Inc. and would later help develop Pokémon Gold and Silver, despite not being officially part of Nintendo.
He finally joined the company as a director in 2000, and ascended to the role of President after the former President of 53 years, Hiroshi Yamauchi, stood down. Mr Yamauchi died in late 2013, aged 55.
As President, Mr. Iwata oversaw a mixed run for Nintendo. The GameCube, their flagship console at the time of his Presidency beginning, sold poorly and finished the sales race that generation in third place. The Wii U, which covered the end of his presidency, has been similarly sluggish in sales. In 2011, the company recorded its first ever loss, and Mr. Iwata cut his own salary by 50 per cent as a result.
But Iwata presided over notable successes too – the Wii managed to accumulate over 100 million sales, the first home console other than a PlayStation ever to do so. Nintendo has continued the utter dominance that the Game Boy Advance established with the highly successful DS and 3DS consoles.
In the last two years, Mr. Iwata had appeared more digitally than physically at events, speaking via pre-recorded videos around E3 events. In 2014, it was reported that he had undergone surgery for a bile duct growth.
His death was announced early in the morning of July 13th, from cancer originating from a bile duct growth.
He is survived by his wife Kayoko, and a funeral is planned for July 17th.
Directors Genyo Takeda and Shigeru Miyamoto will remain in place as heads of the company until a new President can be chosen.