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Outpouring of grief for Nintendo boss Satoru Iwata, who died age 55 of a bile duct growth on Saturday

Sophie Aubrey, AP

THE video game community is mourning the tragic death of the Nintendo boss Satoru Iwata, who died at age 55 on Saturday.

Iwata, who led Japan’s Nintendo Co through the years, with its popular Pokemon and Super Mario franchises as well as its Nintendo DS and Wii consoles, died of a bile duct tumour in a Kyoto University hospital.

He had not been seen recently at major game events, such as E3 in Los Angeles, where he was usually spotted.

“Nintendo Co., Ltd. deeply regrets to announce that President Satoru Iwata passed away on July 11, 2015 due to a bile duct growth,” the company said in a brief statement.

Passionate creator ... Satoru Iwata championed Nintendo’s best franchises, including Supe

Passionate creator … Satoru Iwata championed Nintendo’s best franchises, including Super Mario. He is pictured here at a conference in 2008. Source: AP

Iwata was in his early 40s when he was named president in 2002 before later being also appointed CEO in 2013.

Iwata was a respected and popular figure in the game industry, and grieving fans and industry figures have been paying tribute to the man seen as a talented visionary.

“He didn’t just create technology. He created a whole culture,” said Nobuyuki Hayashi, a consultant and technology expert.

“It wasn’t just a consumer product that he had delivered. He brought to people something that’s eternal, what people remember from when they were kids. He was special.”

An outpouring of grief is being heard on social media.