Nintendo has just issued a short statement announcing that president Satoru Iwata has passed away at the age of 55.

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The statement reads:

Nintendo Co., Ltd. deeply regrets to announce that President Satoru Iwata passed away on July 11, 2015 due to a bile duct growth.

Iwata was forced to skip last year’s E3 due to his poor health, and shortly afterwards underwent surgery to remove the bile duct growth. A few months later, in the wake of concerns over his health, he said via Twitter “I’m progressing well”.

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A talented programmer, Iwata first joined Nintendo’s HAL Laboratory in the 1980s, where he worked on games like Balloon Fight and EarthBound. He became a Director of the company in 2000, and in 2002 was appointed as only the fourth President of Nintendo when he succeeded Hiroshi Yamauchi.

In his time as President, Iwata oversaw some of the strongest (Wii, DS) and weakest (GameCube, Wii U) periods in Nintendo’s history as a video game company. In recent times, he developed almost cult status as the host of the Nintendo Direct programs.

An immensely popular figure both within the industry and with Nintendo fans, he will be sorely missed. Rest in Peace, Mr. Iwata.

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For more on Iwata, see the articles below as well as our editor-in-chief’s own assessment of Iwata’s extraordinary career: The Game Maker Who Became CEO: What Satoru Iwata Meant to Nintendo