Nintendo boss dies of cancer aged just 55
NINTENDO chief executive Satoru Iwata, who led the Japanese video game company through years of growth with its Pokemon and Super Mario franchises, has died after a lengthy battle with cancer.
Nintendo said Mr Iwata died on Saturday of a bile duct tumour aged 55.
A flood of tributes appeared online for Mr Iwata from rivals and fans as a person dedicated to entertaining others. On Twitter, fans thanked him for childhood memories and for bringing families together.
On some Internet sites, an image of the flag in the Super Mario game was flying at half-mast.
"He didn't just create technology. He created a whole culture," said Nobuyuki Hayashi, a consultant and technology expert. "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."
Mr Iwata, who was also company president, had not been seen recently at major game events, such as E3 in Los Angeles.
Mr Iwata led Nintendo's development into a global company, with its hit Wii home console and DS handheld, and also through its recent troubles caused by the popularity of smartphones.
He will be remembered for a speech he gave in 2005 in which he said: "On my business card, I am a corporate president. In my mind, I am a game developer. But in my heart, I am a gamer."