This weekend, Nintendo’s President and CEO Satoru Iwata passed away from cancer. In the 126 years since its founding as a card-game company, Nintendo has only had four presidents, including Iwata. 

Iwata has helmed the $22.2 billion corporation since 2002, seeing it through some of its best and worst moments. Through it all, he managed to remain one of the most universally liked and respected figures in video gaming.

Iwata was often the public face of Nintendo. In 2006, Iwata launched the Iwata Asks series in which he interviewed developers about the projects that they were working on for Nintendo. Later, he began making cameos in Nintendo games, including Tomodachi Life and WarioWare: Smooth Moves. In 2011, Nintendo launched its Nintendo Direct video series designed to keep the world updated on its latest games. Iwata frequently hosted.

Muppet Iwata

Satoru Iwata appeared as a puppet in Nintendo’s E3 2015 Digital Event.

In every appearance he made, Iwata was patient, polite, and funny. He laughed often. His Nintendo Direct appearances were quirky, often including puppets, floating heads, epic fight sequences, and more.

And when Nintendo had difficult news to announce, he tackled it himself, using soft words to lessen the blow and reminding his fans that Nintendo would always put them first. In 2013, when the Wii U was selling poorly, Iwata voluntarily took a 50% pay cut to avoid laying off Nintendo employees.

Since news of his death was announced yesterday, the Internet has been showered with an outpouring of love and respect.

For his lifetime of gaming contributions and for his immensely kind and thoughtful personality, would like to thank Satoru Iwata. He is sorely missed.

This article was written by

Courtney is Pixelkin's Associate Managing Editor. While working with the Girl Scouts of Northern California, she mentored young girls in teamwork, leadership, personal responsibility, and safety. Today, she spends her time studying adolescent development and using literary analysis techniques to examine video games.