“Nintendo Co., Ltd. deeply regrets to announce that President Satoru Iwata passed away on July 11, 2015 due to a bile duct growth,” reads the short statement from the company.
Iwata first joined Nintendo as part of the HAL Laboratory in the 1980s, producing games like Balloon Fight, the Kirby series and EarthBound.
He became a Nintendo Director in 2000, and in 2002 was appointed as only the fourth President of Nintendo, succeeding Hiroshi Yamauchi. According to the statement, he also became the CEO of Nintendo of America in 2013.
Iwata had surgery in June last year to remove the bile duct growth and, although he missed the E3 conference, returned to work after a short recovery. Last October he commented that he had recovered well enough to resume his regular duties.