Nintendo released a statement late on Sunday announcing that the company’s fourth president, Satoru Iwata has passed away.

Nintendo Co., Ltd. deeply regrets to announce that President Satoru Iwata passed away on July 11, 2015 due to a bile duct growth.

Iwata led the company since 2002 and became an immensely personable host of the frequent Nintendo Directs as well as the Iwata Asks feature. It was his idea for Nintendo to skip big-stage presentations at E3, in exchange for digital presentations and an emphasis on show floor gameplay footage. The president skipped the company’s last two E3 showings due to health reasons, but insisted he was recovering from several surgeries.

iwata banana
Entertaining moments like this, confusingly brandishing a banana, earned Iwata a loving reputation among fans.

Iwata showed a strong faith in the Wii U and influenced many large decisions for the company moving forward. He more than likely had an instrumental role in the development of the rumored NX console, as well as Nintendo’s mobile games department.

Iwata got started with game development upon joining HAL laboratories, and became the company’s coordinator of software in 1983. He lead production on games like Balloon Fight, Earthbound and Kirby’s Dream Land. 

He continued to appear in Nintendo presentations at E3, including facing off with Reggie Fils-Aime in 2014 to announce Mii Fighters in Super Smash Bros. As both an entertaining figure and visionary leader for the video game industry, Iwata-San will sorely be missed.

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Tags : NintendoSatoru Iwata
AJ Moser

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