Gamers awoke to tragic news this morning. Satoru Iwata, President and CEO of Nintendo passed away 11 July, age 55, with the news made public earlier today. Nintendo’s official notification of death simply reads:
Nintendo Co., Ltd. deeply regrets to announce that President Satoru Iwata passed away on July 11, 2015 due to a bile duct growth
Bile duct growths are caused by a rare type of cancer (cholangiocarcinoma). An abnormal growth appears on the bile duct – tubes which deliver bile (a digestive fluid which helps break down fats) between liver, gallbladder and small bowel. Although Mr Iwata underwent surgery last year, complications related to the growth were the cause of death. Mr Iwata was unable to attend E3 last month due to his condition.
Mr Iwata was appointed Director in 2000, President in 2002 and CEO in 2013. During his long and productive career in the games industry, Mr Iwata worked on, and promoted well-loved franchises such as Pokemon, The Legend of Zelda, Super Mario Bros. and Animal Crossing. His time at Nintendo saw the release of many of the company’s most innovative products, including the Nintendo DS and 3DS handheld consoles, Wii and WiiU. Mr Iwata continued to uphold Nintendo’s focus on innovation when he steered the company into a partnership with mobile provider DeNA just a few months ago.
Social media has been flooded with fond messages thanking Mr Iwata for all he brought to Nintendo over the years. He will be sorely missed.