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Nintendo President Satoru Iwata Dies At Age 55

Iwata — only the fourth president in the company's history — worked on many iconic video games and systems over his career.

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Nintendo President Satoru Iwata died Saturday at the age of 55 following an illness, the company announced.

Iwata, only the fourth president of the company and the first to not be related to its founder, died due to a "bile duct growth," according to Nintendo. He had last year undergone surgery to remove a similar growth, causing him to miss a shareholders meeting as well as video game conference E3.

Iwata was appointed as a director at Nintendo in 2000, rising up the ranks to become CEO of Nintendo of America.

In spite of his powerful position, Iwata was a friendly face to Nintendo fans in his introductions to new products and features.

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Though his background was in game programming — he was behind Kirby's Dream World while working at HAL Laboratory — at Nintendo he oversaw ambitious hardware projects.

His tenure was also linked to the development of the Wii, whose motion-based controls were revolutionary.

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"With Wii ... I feel as if we have broken with tradition, taking a jump to a different dimension," Iwata said before its release. "I think we feel such excitement, as well as a sense of achievement, precisely because we have made this leap."

Iwata was also known for taking responsibility for the company's failures.

Koji Sasahara / ASSOCIATED PRESS

In 2011, he took a 50% pay cut following the poor performance of the Nintendo 3DS. He again took a pay cut last year related to the performance of the Wii U.

Claudia Koerner is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Los Angeles.

Contact Claudia Koerner at claudia.koerner@buzzfeed.com.

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