Nintendo president Satoru Iwata has died at age 55. In a press release the company said, “Nintendo Co. Ltd. deeply regrets to announce that President Satoru Iwata passed away on July 11, 2015, due to a bile duct growth.”
Iwata was aware of his health issues and underwent surgery in 2014 to remove the growth. After a short period of time off Iwata returned to his work at Nintendo.
The long-time president of Nintendo started his career as a freelance programmer for HAL Laboratory, a subsidiary of Nintendo, before joining HAL full time after college. As a HAL programmer he was responsible for helping build such classic games as “Balloon Fight” and the “Kirby” and “Earthbound” franchises. Iwata was named as the president of HAL in 1993.
In 2000, Iwata joined Nintendo proper as the head of its corporate-planning division. When Nintendo president Hiroshi Yamauchi retired in 2002, Iwata was picked to succeed him as the fourth president of the company.
Iwata was responsible for the development of the GameCube, the Wii, the DS, and the Wii U.
Because of health problems Satoru Iwata missed last years E3 gaming conference, arguably the most important gaming event of the year.
A statement recently released by Iwata reads:
“Thank you very much for your continued extraordinary support of us. I am Satoru Iwata, President of the company.
Today, there is one thing that I would like to share with you.
Recently, as the result of one of my routine physical examinations, an issue was detected. Following a more detailed examination, a growth was found in my bile duct.
In general, it is said that a bile duct growth can be difficult-to-treat, partly because of the difficulty of detecting it early. In my case, luckily, it was detected very early and I had no symptoms.
I was counseled that removal at an early stage would be the desirable medical option. Therefore I had surgery last week, and I came through it well, as predicted.
I have already resumed my business by email and by other means, but it is anticipated that a little more time is needed for me to return to my regular work schedule.
As a result, I have no choice but to miss the company’s very important activity, the Annual General Meeting of Shareholders, to be held this month. As the president of the company, I regret that I cannot attend the meeting. However, I understand that I have to prioritize my medical treatment and to recover as soon as possible so that I will again be able to do my best to help the company to grow. I hope that you understand.