Sad news in the video game world today, as we have learned that Satoru Iwata, a former programmer at HAL Laboratories and President of Nintendo since 2002, has died at the age of 55.
According to Kotaku, Nintendo released a statement on the passing of their president, which reads,
Nintendo Co., Ltd. deeply regrets to announce that President Satoru Iwata passed away on July 11, 2015 due to a bile duct growth.
Iwata had taken time off from the company recently for health reasons, but had recently appeared in some of the company’s prominent video presentations, and had, by all accounts, returned to work. Fans have become accustomed to seeing Iwata, who always gave public statements on behalf of the company’s direction, and released regular “Nintendo Direct” videos updating fans on the progress of forthcoming games and systems.
Iwata began his career in the world of video games right out of university graduation, where he worked as a programmer for HAL Laboratories. After becoming head of production in 1983, he served in that capacity in helping to develop now-timeless games like Earthbound, Balloon Fight, and the Kirby series. He was then promoted to president of HAL in 1993, and served in that position for seven years before taking a job from a regular client, Nintendo.
After serving as head of its corporate planning apparatus for just about two years, Iwata succeeded longtime Nintendo president Hiroshi Yamauchi when he retired in 2002. Since then, Iwata has seen the company through the less profitable GameCube period and development of the Wii U console, as well as the explosive, history-making development of the original Wii, Nintendo DS, and Nintendo 3DS systems.
In 2014, Iwata was forced to skip the E3 expo due to health concerns, and underwent surgery for removal of a tumor in a bile duct not long afterward. It appears, unfortunately, that this is what ultimately led to his death.
GeekNation wishes to extend our best wishes to the friends and family of Mr. Iwata, as well as the entire Nintendo organization during this undoubtedly difficult time. Mr. Iwata left a lasting legacy that will continue to be enjoyed by millions of players for decades to come, and it’s difficult to think of anything better to leave behind. Rest in peace, Mr. Iwata.
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