On Monday, Nintendo revealed that CEO Satoru Iwata lost his battle with bile duct cancer over the weekend at just 55.
"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," said Iwata at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco in 2005. Iwata took over Nintendo just as the company was launching its GameCube in 2002 as its fourth president, though he was the first who didn't belong to the Yamauchi family, the company's founders. As president, he launched the DS, 3DS, Wii, and Wii U and in 2013, Iwata was named Nintendo's CEO. But Iwata's career began long before he took the reins at Nintendo - his passion for technology started at a very young age and he started programming in high school. "My first interest was computers. At the time, there were no personal computers, so the very first computer I bought was a calculator -- a calculator capable of programming," said Iwata in an interview with Polygon in 2012. "It only displayed numbers, but with a calculator that only displays numbers, I somehow made games and played them with friends."
News of his death has Nintendo, fans, and the gaming industry in mourning. Many have taken to social media to share their grief over the loss. "What a terribly sad day. Iwata-San was such a gentleman. Huge loss for the industry," tweeted Peter Moore, COO of Electronic Arts on Sunday, as word of Iwata's passing began to spread. CEO of Razer Min-Liang Tan tweeted, "There are CEOs who make a difference to the lives of the people. Satoru Iwata was one of the few who did." Others compared Iwata's untimely death to that of the late Apple CEO Steve Jobs' - "Steve Jobs was crazy, mean, demanding, and brutal in his efficiency. Satoru Iwata was kind, gentle, and humble. Two different ways to lead," tweeted Jimmy Wong. "They both have changed the world. I would have happily worked under Iwata in a heartbeat. I can't say the same for Steve."
Photo: © Creative Commons - Flickr: markrabo.