Nintendo president Satoru Iwata dies of cancer at 55

Updated: 2015-07-13
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(Credit: Bob Riha, Jr./Nintendo via Getty Images)
Satoru Iwata, the president of Nintendo, has passed away. He was 55. 
Nintendo announced the tragic news in a brief statement, listing his cause of death as "a bile duct growth." 
Iwata's health had been declining for some time. In 2014, he missed the E3 conference in Los Angeles on advice of his physician. He underwent what was believed to have been successful surgery shortly thereafter.

Iwata's career began as a developer with Nintendo subsidiary HAL Laboratories, where he worked on popular Nintendo games such as Balloon Fight and Earthbound. He became president of HAL in 1993. Seven years later he became the head of corporate planning at Nintendo proper, a title he held for only two years. In 2002, Iwata succeeded longtime company president Hiroshi Yamauchi to become only the fourth president in Nintendo’s history.

Greatly admired by gamers and peers, Iwata steered Nintendo through some of its brightest days. During his tenure, Nintendo released the DS line of handhelds — the best-selling video game system of all-time — as well as the wildly popular Wii console.
Iwata's friendly demeanor endeared him to countless players. In 2011 he launched a series of Nintendo Direct online events in which he would speak directly to fans and announce new games and updates. His "Iwata Asks" interview series lent fantastic inight into the minds of Nintendo's own game developers.

Iwata's many admirers took to Twitter to share memories and condolences.

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
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
I've written & deleted ~15 tweets about Iwata, trying to say how much I respected him & how much our industry owes him, but none were enough
— Nathan Vella (@Capy_Nathan) 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

Iwata's death leaves senior managers Genyo Takeda and Shigeru Miyamoto as representative directors, said Nintendo. He is survived by his wife, Kayoko.
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