Nintendo President Satoru Iwata Dies At 55

Nintendo President Satoru Iwata Dies At 55

Nintendo has just issued a short statement announcing that president Satoru Iwata has passed away at the age of 55.

The statement reads:

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 forced to skip last year’s E3 due to his poor health, and shortly afterwards underwent surgery to remove the bile duct growth. A few months later, in the wake of concerns over his health, he said via Twitter “I’m progressing well”.

A talented programmer, Iwata first joined Nintendo’s HAL Laboratory in the 1980s, where he worked on games like Balloon Fight and EarthBound. He became a Director of the company in 2000, and in 2002 was appointed as only the fourth President of Nintendo when he succeeded Hiroshi Yamauchi.

In his time as President, Iwata oversaw some of the strongest (Wii, DS) and weakest (GameCube, Wii U) periods in Nintendo’s history as a video game company. In recent times, he developed almost cult status as the host of the Nintendo Direct programs.

An immensely popular figure both within the industry and with Nintendo fans, he will be sorely missed. Rest in Peace, Mr. Iwata.


    • Iwata Satoru 🙁

      At 55, you were gone too soon. You were a loving husband, father and Nintendo’s president.
      Nintendo will never be the same without you. You will be missed.
      My thoughts go out to all tou family, friends and fans.

      A restructuring is incoming.

    • He was responsible for some of my most cherished childhood memories, playing a Nintendo console donated by Child’s Play when I was in hospital…

      Here’s a charity video I made earlier:

  • That’s too young, Luke didn’t leave much of a tribute to him I hope Kotaku does more than a 3 line article.

  • Crap, terrible news. Heartfelt condolences to his friends and family, 55 is too young. =(

  • This is seriously sad news and one must ask the question 55 is so young. Stress of being head of big co operation affected his health ???

  • Aw man, how could he go so young? He still loved dressing up like a rabbit, most people decided to outgrow that at 10 🙁

  • Geez… Nintendo has been my go to love for games for as long as I remember, and he’s always been a part of that. Seeing this just makes the heart sink, absolutely terrible news. What a legend he’s left.

  • RIP Iwata. Thank you for what you have done to Nintendo and never giving up so far.

  • Far too young.

    Travel well Iwata-san. Thankyou for the joy and sincerity you displayed in your lifetime.

    Rest in Peace.

  • This is terrible news. Iwata was a cornerstone of Nintendo and an absolute delight to see every time a Direct rolled around. Fifty-five is way too young an age for anyone to die at. My deepest condolences to his friends and family.

  • Thats aweful. Didnt realise he was in such bad health 🙁

    Rest in Peace. You helped make my childhood great.

  • I know it’s too soon to say this but…
    Now is the chance for Nintendo to make better gaming and business decisions.

    • Well their investors have been calling for mobile gaming remember, going so far at one point they called for Iwata to step down.
      Nintendo might not have always made the popular decisions, but they made the right decisions more often than not.

      We are seriously at the end of an era and we can only hope the future is a bright one.

    • You mean stop investing in games that are different and fun? Invest in more brown AAA shooters?

      Yes Ninty games have been plucking from the same license fruit tree for years now but even if it’s not your cup of tea they are still very fun games (hell Splatoon has the distinction for me of not only finally letting me enjoy a multiplayer shooter… but get me addicted as heck. And I’m not a huge fan of the genre) and they sell. You can label the same “derivative” and “repetitive” label to a Ninty franchise the same way you could label the yearly CoD and Battlefield. It doesn’t mean they sell any less either… at least Ninty has more color pallettes tho =P

    • I can’t blame you for writing this… it’s the first thing I thought of as well.

    • Have you no shame?

      Iwata was one of the best CEOs in the industry. Guy was all charm.

      Plus he wasn’t just a CEO. The guy saved Earthbound by coding it from scratch and managed to compress Pokemon Gold/Silver’s code so they could add Kanto to it.

      Plus he halved his own salary when Ninty was going through tough times.

      The industry has lost someone important.

  • Goddam man =(

    Say all you want about Ninty but I always appreciated Iwata-san’s approach once he took on the helm he’s up there w/ Shuhei-san on trying to be in touch or at least communicate w/ fans w/ the Iwata says updates.

    He will be missed =(

  • Well this has slammed my day.

    I owe a rather large chunk of childhood memories to Nintendo and Iwata.
    Gonna miss your enthusiasm and presence in the gaming scene, my heart goes out to you and your family.

    • I know right? My Mum turned 55 only yesterday.
      He may not have been young, but definetly had done years ahead of him

  • RIP Iwata-san. I hope that your successor follows your wonderful example on how to lead one of the best companies going around!

      • Come on dude, look at his legacy.

        Everyone has made mistakes and he is no exception, but he has been the driving force behind some of the biggest titles in history.
        When people said Nintendo was dying he pursued a previously unknown market in family gaming that made Sony and Microsoft sit up and take notice, dominating with a console that was weaker than theirs.
        He refused investors and promised to keep Nintendo about console gaming when they wanted his head and so much more.

        It would be great to see Nintendo return to form, but we know business and gaming don’t always work out best for us as gamers.
        Their success doesn’t always mean our satisfaction.

        I’m actually a little afraid, investors play a big part in choosing executives in business and it’s no secret that they have very different and scary views on where the company should go.
        God we can only hope we get somebody that was half the man Iwata was.

        • Fair point if a bit tactless in bringing it up in a thread about Iwata’s passing. Iwata has done some great stuff but there are decisions that Nintendo has made which are unusual, to put it mildly. We know that Iwata wasn’t the kind of guy to control Nintendo’s board with an iron fist, so it may be that the old guard on the board was behind those decisions, but for better or worse, Iwata was the face of the company and took the blame and the glory alike. His successor will probably be someone who will be seen as a ‘steadying influence’ to keep Nintendo on course. It is unlikely that, even if the successor is as eccentric as Iwata, he will show his true colours in the short term. He will play it safe by keeping the board (and investors to a lesser extent) happy.

          EDIT – didn’t mean @namiwakiru was being tactless, but rather @nvidia.

          • I still think they need to seriously consider going the way of a ‘software company only’ like SEGA did many moons ago.

  • That’s terrible, I didn’t realise how serious is was. This seems quite sudden. Even though I have lost most of my interest in Nintendo’s consoles, I haven’t lost my respect for Nintendo, my childhood wouldn’t have been the same without them. A sad day.

  • Rest in peace, Mr Iwata. You will be missed. Your presence in the gaming industry and in Nintendo was what made me such a fan. Your Nintendo Directs and Iwata Asks were always a pleasure to watch and read.

  • Absolutely gutted. He was responsible for many of my fondest gaming memories. Tragic. 🙁

    Vale Iwata-San. You will be sorely missed. Thank you for everything.

  • RIP Iwata. Thank you for all the joy you have given the gaming community over the years.

    I didn’t realise his condition was so serious. Maybe he should have stepped down completely as President some time ago to focus on his health, but then again was probably quite a sudden decline and maybe stepping away from what he loved might have been worse for him…

  • Bile duct ‘growth’….. Do they mean cholangiocarcinoma? Or a benign obstruction which caused cholestasis, leading to acute cholangitis? Well…. whatever it was, he left too soon.

  • Well balls, this is seriously depressing. I hope he at least felt he led a fulfilling life. He inspired a lot of people and has left behind one hell of a legacy. Condolences to all his family and friends…

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