Iwarta joined the gaming giant in 2000 and was vice president from 2002.
He had been in bad health for a while. Iwarta underwent surgery last year, and took some time off to recover. He passed away in a Kyoto University Hospital.
Iwata was the leader in Nintendo’s global development company and its Wii console and DS handheld. He was set to lead Nintendo through another stage with games on smartphones, meaning that Mario would lead his search for the princess on cellphones and tablets.
Social Media had a heavy heart with tributes to Iwata being posted. Nobuyuki Hayashi, a consultant and technology expert, said:
He didn’t just create technology. He created a whole culture”, he tweeted. “It wasn’t just a consumer product that he had delivered. He brought to people something that’s eternal, what people remember from when they were kids. He was special.
In remembrance of Mr. Satoru Iwata, Nintendo will not be posting on our social media channels today. pic.twitter.com/N2kR0OKEXh
— Nintendo of America (@NintendoAmerica) July 13, 2015
There’s yet no word on a replacement, however, the company said Shigeru Hiyamaoto will be in the leadership team along with Genyo Takeda, who is also in the game development field.
A statement from 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.”