It’s with heavy hearts we report that Satoru Iwata, the much-respected, influential president of Nintendo Co., has passed away. He was 55.
Nintendo’s Kyoto, Japan headquarters announced Iwata’s death on Sunday. The short statement said his death occurred on July 11, and was due to “a bile duct growth” - presumably cancer.
Iwata, born December 6, 1959, was appointed as director at Nintendo in 2000, and two years later appointed as president. In 2013, he became CEO of Nintendo of America.
But his path as a business leader at Nintendo was preceded by a career in making video games. He worked on games such as Earthbound, and was once president of longtime Nintendo partner HAL Laboratory.
Nintendo kept Iwata’s health issues guarded, which makes his passing seem sudden. In 2014, Nintendo said Iwata would miss E3 that year due to a growth that was found in his bile duct. Shortly after, he missed the company’s annual shareholding meeting as he recovered from the procedure, which, he said, went well. By October last year, he said he would be able to resume regular work duties.
Iwata is credited behind the revitalization of Nintendo, leading the company’s turnaround with the success of the Wii and DS, game consoles that went a different path from competitors with a focus on new ways to play video games.
Nintendo has not announced a corporate replacement, but noted that senior managing director Genyo Takeda and senior managing director and legendary Nintendo developer Shigeru Miyamoto remain with the company.