In a brief statement, released by Nintendo, the gaming company said, “Nintendo Co., Ltd. deeply regrets to announce that director Satoru Iwata passed away on July 11, 2015 due to a bile duct growth.” Iwata was a man with passion, and in love with his company and their craft.
“Satoru Iwata was an icon in the gaming world”, Paul Morris, a prominent video game industry writer, told CNBC. Iwata disclosed to shareholders in a June past year that he underwent an operation to take off a tumor in his bile duct.
He was the only director, not related to the founding Yamauchi family.
Nintendo said that Iwata’s death would not mean immediate changes to its strategy, which include working with mobile giant DeNA on mobile games and focusing on the new, now mysterious “NX” console.
We’ll leave you with one of our favorite quotes from Iwata: “On my business card, I am a corporate president“.
As a programmer Iwata worked on some of the most popular and beloved games to have appeared on Nintendo consoles – including well-known Earthbound, Pokemon Gold/Silver, Balloon Fight and a number of the Kirby games.
The Nintendo entertainment company has only had two presidents in its modern era. Mr. Iwata was a strong leader, a unique figure in the gaming industry and an important part of Nintendo’s history. He has overseen the launches of the Nintendo DS, 3DS, Wii and Wii U, leading the company through some of its biggest financial successes – and biggest struggles. But he said Takeda and other members of the board had been with the company for decades, and he maintained a “buy” rating on the shares. “In my heart, I am a gamer”.
Iwata had surgery in June past year to remove the growth and had resumed his duties.