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article imageNintendo president Satoru Iwata's death sparks wave of tributes

By James Walker     Jul 13, 2015 in Entertainment
Nintendo has confirmed that its president and CEO Satoru Iwata has died aged 55. Iwata had been recovering from cancer surgery last year and died of a bile duct growth on July 11. The games industry has been flooded with touching tributes for Mr Iwata.
In a short statement, the Japanese gaming giant confirmed the passing of its President and CEO. Genyo Takeda and Shigeru Miryamoto remain as Representative Directors of the company.
Iwata, 55, was known for his humble approach to managing the company he led. He was a self-taught programmer, having started by coding a baseball game on a calculator. He once described himself by saying: "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."
Iwata was appointed president of Nintendo in May 2002. Under his leadership, the company launched some of its most successful products, including the innovative Wii games console and the DS handheld device.
Despite the company's failure to recognise the changing markets and the subsequent poor sales of its most recent Wii U console, Iwata was still loved by fans and the industry as a whole. As the 3DS became the only profit anchor for the company, Iwata, a gamer himself, stayed at the helm and tried to steer away from trouble.
This eventually led the company to announce earlier this year that it would begin to make smartphone games using some of its best-known brands. Unfortunately, Iwata will never see this project come to fruition.
He had an operation to treat cancer in 2014, returning to work a few weeks afterwards, but further complications appeared to have arisen, leading to his death two days ago. As he recovered, Iwata took a pay cut amid Nintendo's falling profits, ordering his executives to do likewise too.
Social networks have been flooded with tributes and messages of condolences to Iwata and his family. The official accounts of rival companies quickly sent their thanks for Iwata's work in the industry.
Sony's PlayStation wrote on Twitter: "Thank you for everything, Mr. Iwata." Microsoft's Phil Spencer, head of the Xbox division, said: "Sad day for Iwata-san's family, friends, and gamers everywhere. His passion, creativity & leadership elevated our industry."
Game publishers, developers, designers and players have all sent their own messages of support. #RIPIwata is trending worldwide on Twitter as well-wishers continue to express their sadness and grief.
Iwata leaves Nintendo in troubled times. His leadership created some great products that drew whole families into gaming with the quirky, motion-sensing titles of the Wii. The company's future seems less certain than when he joined but it is clear that Iwata has left his mark on the industry and will always be remembered.
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