To the surprise and consternation of many, Nintendo's fourth President and CEO, Satoru Iwata, passed away at the age of 55 on 11th July, 2015. In a statement published by the representatives, the passing occurred due to a bile duct growth, an affliction that had prevented him from attending E3 and the Annual Shareholders Meeting in 2014.
As the first president of Nintendo that was not blood-related to the Yamauchi family, Iwata succeeded Hiroshi Yamauchi in 2002. Yamauchi's tenure lasted over five decades. Iwata was named one of the World's top CEOs, namely due to Wii sales and an increase in Nintendo's stock price. Iwata began his career at Nintendo as head of its corporate planning division. Before this, Iwata worked in a full-time capacity at HAL Laboratory, helping bring many favourites to life, such as the Kirby and EarthBound series.
Iwata ran operations through both peaks and troughs in Nintendo's timeline, with the success of the DS and Wii in 2004 and 2006 respectively, and the rather lacklustre performance yielded by the Wii U more recently.
As the iconic host of Nintendo Direct, the company's online presentation service that first aired in 2011, Iwata helped unveil new information regarding upcoming titles or the franchise itself. His most renowned direct being that from E3 2013, where the Year of Luigi was declared. Fittingly, Iwata sported the plumber's green hat.
Iwata was regarded as a crucial drive behind Nintendo's success. As a result of Iwata's passing, the current Representative Directors, Genyo Takeda and Shigeru Miyamoto, the creator behind some of the most critically acclaimed franchises including Mario, Donkey Kong and the Legend of Zelda, remain with the company.
Our deepest condolences go out to the Iwata and Nintendo family. He will be missed dearly.