Nintendo Chief Executive Satoru Iwata died of a tumour in his bile duct at the age of 55 over the weekend, the Japanese company said on Monday.
His death came as the company expects to double its annual operating profit thanks to its recent deal with online game maker DeNa.
Iwata underwent surgery last June to remove the tumour and returned to his duties, however his condition deteriorated quickly when his illness relapsed.
During his presidency Nintendo enjoyed growth due to the development of its Wii console and DS handheld, along with the development of its Pokemon and Super Mario franchises.
However, the growing popularity of smartphones over portable gaming consoles has caused some of Nintendo’s investors to call for change in recent years.
Despite Iwata’s initial resistance to smartphones, he was the person who decided to develop games for smartphones, such as a version of its iconic Mario.
Although his replacement has not yet been named, senior managing director Genya Takeda may be taking up the role of president since he will lead the committee for Iwata’s farewell ceremony.
Takeda, who was one of the leading developers of Nintendo’s Wii console, and senior managing director Shigeru Miyamoto, famous for producing the Mario and Donkey Kong games, will remain as company representative directors.
Iwata had been the president of Nintendo since 2002. He is survived by his wife Kayako.