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).”
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.
He always wore suits in pictures, but he was no suit… pic.twitter.com/os7P8xhSPL
— Andrea Pessino (@AndreaPessino) July 13, 2015
Saddened to hear of Satoru Iwata’s passing. A driving force in our industry for many years. He’ll be missed. Thoughts to his friends/family.
— Pete Hines (@DCDeacon) July 13, 2015
I first met Satoru Iwata at TGS in 2005 when I interviewed him for G4. He spoke in Japanese and showed off the Nintendo Wii controller. — Geoff Keighley (@geoffkeighley) July 13, 2015
Really sad to hear about Iwata-san’s passing today. As a fan of Nintendo since the NES, my heart goes out to his family, friends, & fans.
— Adam Boyes (@amboyes) July 13, 2015
ゲーム業界の発展に多大な貢献をされた岩田さんのご冥福をお祈りします。 — Shuhei Yoshida (@yosp) July 13, 2015
Translation: “He has given a great contribution to the development of the gaming industry. I will pray for Iwata’s soul.”
I had the chance to meet Iwata-san at E3 one year, and he was such a gentleman as I fan boyed out. Today the industry lost a huge force. 😞
— Larry Hryb (@majornelson) July 13, 2015
A sad morning. Deep loss of a most magnificent, passionate soul. Our thoughts are *directly* with his family and fans pic.twitter.com/jENj2cMJXB
— 2K United Kingdom (@2K_UK) July 13, 2015
RIP Iwata-san, we owe you much – you will be missed. — Treyarch Studios (@Treyarch) July 13, 2015
We are sincerely saddened to hear of the passing of Iwata-san. Our best to his family in their time of loss.
— Obsidian (@Obsidian) July 13, 2015
Endless thanks and respect to Iwata-san. His talent and humor made the world a better place. — Capcom-Unity (@Capcom_Unity) July 13, 2015