Satoru Iwata, president of Nintendo Co., introduces the new 3DS game at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in Los Angeles, California, U.S., on Tuesday, June 15, 2010. Iwata, who led the Japanese gamemaker back to ascendancy in the early 2000s with the Wii console, died July 11, 2015, from bile duct cancer, the Kyoto-based company said in a statement. 

Satoru Iwata, president of Nintendo Co., introduces the new 3DS game at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in Los Angeles, California, U.S., on Tuesday, June 15, 2010. Iwata, who led the Japanese gamemaker back to ascendancy in the early 2000s with the Wii console, died July 11, 2015, from bile duct cancer, the Kyoto-based company said in a statement. 

Jonathan Alcorn/Bloomberg

The gaming industry, and the world, lost a hero on July 11. Satoru Iwata, president of Nintendo, passed away due to a bile duct growth. He started off his career as a game developer for HAL Industries before transferring to Nintendo in 2000, but has always considered himself to be a gamer, first and foremost. Employees were known to StreetPass him in the office - a feature on the 3DS that allows players to connect  and game with others using only Internet connection - and Iwata had a reputation of being kind, soft-spoken, yet innovative and quirky. 

Iwata was a rare gem of a man. He cut his own paycheck in half in Wii U sales weren't successful. In his famed keynote speech at the Game Developers Conference in 2005, he stated:

"On my business card, I am a corporate president. In my mind, I am a game developer. In my heart, I am a gamer."

Here are his greatest accomplishments:

Pokemon

While he didn't head the programming of the games itself, he was in charge of  the digital compression of the games - allowing more gameplay in the Kanto region with more Pokemon to catch. 

He also ported over the combat mechanics from the Game Boy Pokemon games to the Nintendo 64 for Pokemon Stadium - and he did it in about a week without any documentation to help him. After hearing this, one of Pokemon's developers, Shigeki Morimoto, asked, "Is that guy a programmer? Or is he the President?"

August 23, 2000, Tokyo Children hold stuffed dolls of different Pocket Monsters in Pokemon Center in Tokyo.

August 23, 2000, Tokyo Children hold stuffed dolls of different Pocket Monsters in Pokemon Center in Tokyo.

Special: Sayuri Inoue/Digital File

Nintendo DS

The Nintendo DS is important to me, personally because without it I wouldn't have sneaked it into class and been the most popular girl in the fourth grade. That's a bit of an exaggeration, but I do credit the DS, and Iwata who was head of the company when it was released, for the friends I made in elementary school. The DS is the best-selling handheld gaming console and the second best-selling gaming console - as of 2014, approximately 154 million DS consoles have been sold.

A woman smiles after she purchased the new Nintendo DS video game device in Tokyo, 02 December 2004.  The holiday shopping season is set to be a shoot-'em-up round in the video game industry, as its top players Nintendo and Sony go head to head by launching new and advanced hand-held machines.  Japanese video game giant Nintendo launched its new machine at a price of 15,000 yen (145 dollars).

A woman smiles after she purchased the new Nintendo DS video game device in Tokyo, 02 December 2004. The holiday shopping season is set to be a shoot-'em-up round in the video game industry, as its top players Nintendo and Sony go head to head by launching new and advanced hand-held machines. Japanese video game giant Nintendo launched its new machine at a price of 15,000 yen (145 dollars).

KAZUHIRO NOGI/AFP/Getty Images

Kirby's Dream Land

This game was the start of the entire Kirby franchise and modern civilization wouldn't be the same without everyone's favorite pink spherical hero - aside from Jigglypuff, of course. In a touching episode of Iwata Asks, a series where he asks game developers questions about their games, he revealed when he was working on Kirby Dream Land he worked in a building next to a kindergarten and he would see doodles of Kirby;there he recognized the impact of his work.

Gail Tilden, Nintendo vice president of brand management, and Melinda Porter, right, a Nintendo brand manager, pose with game action character Kirby Aug. 22, 2002, in Nintendo's Redmond, Wash., offices. Kirby also will star in a new TV series, 'Kirby: Right Back at Ya!' which debuted Saturday, Sept. 14, 2003 on Fox.

Gail Tilden, Nintendo vice president of brand management, and Melinda Porter, right, a Nintendo brand manager, pose with game action character Kirby Aug. 22, 2002, in Nintendo's Redmond, Wash., offices. Kirby also will star in a new TV series, 'Kirby: Right Back at Ya!' which debuted Saturday, Sept. 14, 2003 on Fox.

RON WURZER/AP

Nintendo Wii

Iwata wanted to revolutionize the home console; he wanted something more family-oriented, something that wasn't just for hardcore gamers. He believed that everyone should enjoy video games, according to a column he wrote for Los Angeles Times. With that belief, he paved way for the Nintendo Wii, combining family-friendly entertainment with exercise.

In this photo released by Nintendo, Dorothy Ayer, right, from Glendora, Calif. takes a break from shopping on 'Black Friday', Friday, Nov. 23, 2007 to play 'Tiger Woods PGA Tour '08' the latest game for the Wii inside the Westfield Mall in Arcadia, Calif.  Watching the golf action is her mother Louise Rachwitz, 86 (left) and her grandson Spencer Cozort, 2.

In this photo released by Nintendo, Dorothy Ayer, right, from Glendora, Calif. takes a break from shopping on 'Black Friday', Friday, Nov. 23, 2007 to play 'Tiger Woods PGA Tour '08' the latest game for the Wii inside the Westfield Mall in Arcadia, Calif. Watching the golf action is her mother Louise Rachwitz, 86 (left) and her grandson Spencer Cozort, 2.

Bob Riha, Jr./AP

Super Smash Bros. Melee

Even though he became the corporate director of Nintendo in 2001, Iwata continued to program and work on games - most notably, he worked on debugging and coding Super Smash Bros. Melee and without his help, the game wouldn't have made their deadline. Unfortunately that was the last time he personally worked on a game.

Kay Kay Azubogu, 13, of New Orleans, La. (left) watches some boys play Super Smash Bros. on the 34 ft. Nintendo Game Truck Saturday at Six Flags over Texas. 

Kay Kay Azubogu, 13, of New Orleans, La. (left) watches some boys play Super Smash Bros. on the 34 ft. Nintendo Game Truck Saturday at Six Flags over Texas. 

FOX, Tom/130970
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