FILE - JULY 12:  According to reports July 12, 2015 Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata has died at age 55 on July 11, of bile duct cancer. LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 02:  Satoru Iwata, Nintendo Co., Ltd., global president, presents the Nintendo DSi system at the Nintendo media briefing on opening day of the 2009 E3 Expo on June 2, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. The 2009 E3 Expo will feature over 200 leading-edge computer, technology and video game publishers and developers, according to organizers. The industry-only trade show runs June 2-4 at the Los Angeles Convention Center

FILE - JULY 12: According to reports July 12, 2015 Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata has died at age 55 on July 11, of bile duct cancer. LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 02: Satoru Iwata, Nintendo Co., Ltd., global president, presents the Nintendo DSi system at the Nintendo media briefing on opening day of the 2009 E3 Expo on June 2, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. The 2009 E3 Expo will feature over 200 leading-edge computer, technology and video game publishers and developers, according to organizers. The industry-only trade show runs June 2-4 at the Los Angeles Convention Center

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Nintendo of Japan has sent out the heart-wrenching announcement that Satoru Iwata, longtime president of Nintendo, passed away on July 11 "due to a bile duct growth." He was 55.

Iwata became Nintendo's fourth president in 2002. In 2013, he also took on the role of CEO of Nintendo of America.

Last year (2014), Iwata skipped the Electronic Entertainment Expo for health reasons, revealing that he had a tumor on his bile duct, for which he underwent surgery.

While in charge of Nintendo, Iwata helped usher in some of the companies biggest successes (the Wii and the Nintendo DS), though they've struggled in recent years due to a disappointing performance of the Wii U. Iwata handled the lackluster sales of the Wii U by giving himself a pay cut.

Before being part of Nintendo proper, Iwata worked for the Nintendo subsidiary HAL Laboratory, Inc., where he helped create games in the Kirby series (among others). 

In more recent years he's made consistent appearances in most of the "Nintendo Direct" videos in which the company announces and shows off their upcoming games.  He also ran a feature called "Iwata Asks," in which he interviewed various Nintendo developers about what they were working on.

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