Nintendo President and CEO Satoru Iwata has passed away, the company announced in a press release on Monday, July 13. The beloved gaming icon died at the age of 55 on Saturday, July 11, due to a bile duct growth.
Iwata had been struggling with his health over the past year. The businessman broke the news of his trouble in a release to shareholders in June 2014, offering an explanation for his absence at the company's annual shareholders' meeting.
"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," Iwata wrote at the time. "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."
Unfortunately, Iwata was unable to recover completely despite the surgery. The Japan native was mourned by fans and coworkers alike after Nintendo broke the news of his death.
The programmer was remembered for his contributions to the company, including his leadership during a period of growth that involved the introduction of the Wii and DS products. Iwata joined Nintendo in 2000 and was named as President in 2002, adding CEO to his title in 2013.
Iwata was promoted to President after third Nintendo President and member of the founding family, Hiroshi Yamauchi, retired in 2002. Iwata's appointment was significant for the company as he was the first person outside of the Yamauchi family to hold the title of President.
"On my business card, I am a corporate president," Iwata said in one of his most famous speeches at 2005's Game Developers Conference. "In my mind, I am a game developer. But in my heart, I am a gamer."
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