Nintendo president Satoru Iwata passed away this weekend.
Nintendo confirmed the death of president Iwata in a brief message on its investor relations site.
“Nintendo Co., Ltd. deeply regrets to announce that President Satoru Iwata passed away on July 11, 2015 due to a bile duct growth,” the company said.
The 55 year old executive joined Nintendo in the 1980’s, working in development. He became a director in June 2000, ascending to president and representative director in May 2002, and CEO of Nintendo of America in June 2013.
He was at the forefront of Nintendo’s efforts to communicate openly and directly with its fans, and became the face of the company through Nintendo Direct presentations. His gestures and playful approach were widely celebrated, and will be greatly missed.
Iwata had suffered poor health for some time, missing E3 2014 before undergoing surgery for his ongoing bile duct issues. His repeat absence this year had been attributed to business commitments.
Senior managing directors Shigeru Miyamoto and Genyo Takeda will govern Nintendo until Iwata’s successor is chosen.