Game Industry Pays Tribute To Nintendo President Satoru Iwata’s Passing

Nintendo and its fans suffered a tragic loss Satuday as the company reported President Satoru Iwata passed away due to growth from a bile duct tumor. Mr. Iwata was 55.

A short statement was released by Nintendo.

“Nintendo Co., Ltd. deeply regrets to announce that President Satoru Iwata passed away on July 11, 2015 due to a bile duct growth.”

Mr. Iwata first joined started in gaming at HAL Laboratory in the 1980s where he worked on games such as Earthbound, Kirby, and Balloon Fight. After years of developing games for Nintendo, he formally joined Nintendo in 2000 as head of its corporate planning division. He was named the company’s fourth president in 2002 following the retirement of Hiroshi Yamamuchi where he oversaw the breakout success of the Nintendo DS and Nintendo Wii. He later added the title of CEO for Nintendo of America in 2013.

Per the statement from Nintendo, the company’s current management structure is the following:

“The following two Representative Directors remain at the company. Genyo Takeda (Representative Director; Senior Managing Director) Shigeru Miyamoto (Representative Director; Senior Managing Director).”

Nintendo President Satoru Iwata

Mr. Iwata missed E3 2014 after the discovery of a tumor growth in his bile duct. He underwent surgery and later reported that he was progressing well. In a June 2014 letter to shareholders, he explained.

“Recently, as the result of one of my routine physical examinations, an issue was detected. Following a more detailed examination, a growth was found in my bile duct. In general, it is said that a bile duct growth can be difficult-to-treat, partly because of the difficulty of detecting it early. In my case, luckily, it was detected very early and I had no symptoms.”

“I was counseled that removal at an early stage would be the desirable medical option. Therefore I had surgery last week, and I came through it well, as predicted.”

Iwata was thought to be in recovery and made an appearance at the annual shareholders meeting in June. However, the Financial Times reports that Nintendo said his health deteriorated a few days ago and was hospitalized.

Members of the game industry took to social media to remember Mr. Iwata.

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Translation: “He has given a great contribution to the development of the gaming industry. I will pray for Iwata’s soul.”

[Images via Nintendo Direct, Getty Images]