Nintendo’s third president Hiroshi Yamauchi died this morning at 85, according to a confirmation by the company.
Nikkei reports that Yamauchi died this morning in a Jpanese hospital due to complications stemming from pneumonia.
Yamauchi joined Nintendo in 1949. Starting with the launch of the Game & Watch series, Yamauchi served as a vital cog in the company’s transition from card-manufacturer to the video game force we know today, and helped bring legendary developers Shigeru Miyamotu and Gunpei Yokoi to the forefront of the business.
He helped split the company into the various R&D departments we know today, and spearheaded Nintendo’s charge into the gaming market worldwide.
He stepped down on May 31, 2002 to be succeeded by current president Satoru Iwata.
“We will continue to treasure the values Yamauchi taught us – that what makes you unique lies at the core of entertainment,” said Iwata in a statement. “And we at Nintendo will continue to change the company flexibly to adapt to the times, as Yamauchi did, to carry on his spirit.”