There's much grief, but much nostalgia and celebration of Satoru's life, as well

Fans of the Nintendo Comp., Ltd. (TYO:7974) were saddened this weekend by the passing [PDF] of Satoru Iwata, who was serving as Nintendo's fourth President and CEO at the time of his passing.  Born in 1959, Satoru  was amongst the first wave of computer science graduates, attending the Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech).  Satoru cut his teeth in the industry at Commodore Int'l's Japanese division.

After graduating he joined HAL Laboratory, Inc., a Tokyo game studio who had close ties to Commodore.  In years to come, HAL would realign to work closely with Nintendo and along the way Satoru would become one of its top executives.  In 1993 he was promoted to President of HAL.

He quickly became known for his work with two other Nintendo affiliated studios -- Creatures, Inc. and Game Freak Inc.  Creatures, Inc. was launched by Satoru's friend and colleague Hirokazu Tanaka, a Nintendo manager known for creating the iconic Metroid franchise.  Game Freak was found in 1989 by Satoshi Tajiri and Ken Sugimori.  It struck gold in 1996 with Pokemon: Blue, Gold, and Red.

Together in 1994 Satoru and Hirokazu hatched the iconic SNES hit Earthbound.  Five years later Satoru would assist Game Freak in the development of Pokemon: Gold and Silver for the Gameboy Color.  In the meantime he also oversaw at HAL the development of Super Smash Bros (SSB).  Launched in 1999, SSB proved one of the biggest hits of the Nintendo 64 and the first installment in what is today a strong franchise. 

In 2000 after a long-standing close relationship with Nintendo and its affiliate studios, Satoru left HAL to join Nintendo.  In 2002 he was promoted to President and CEO when Hiroshi Yamauchi retired, ending a lengthy career (Hiroshi had been President since 1949).

Mired at the time in the Gamecube era, Iwata orchestrated a terrific turnaround saming Nintendo from experiencing the fate of Sega or Atari.  He masterminded the development and launch of the Nintendo Wii (the de facto winner in unit sales of the seventh generation console era with over 101 million units in lifetime sales) and the Nintendo DS handheld (which boasts today over 154 million units sold).

Satoru Iwata
Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata was taken too soon, but left a rich legacy.  
[Image Source: Nintendo/YouTube]

While the Nintendo 3DS and Wii U have since seen a bumpy ride (and with them Nintendo's financials), most were giving Satoru the benefit of the doubt given the sales lightning he bottled during the previous generation.

In mid-2014 Nintendo revealed that its CEO was battling a bile duct tumor (Cholangiocarcinoma) and had undergone surgery.  But while millions of fans worldwide wished him a speedy recovery, he ultimately was unable to overcome the illness.  Nintendo announced the sad news of his passing on Sunday July 12.

Fans have taken to the web to show off some touching tributes.  Here's some of the better ones we've seen in the art category:

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Whether we realise it or not, this man has probably impacted on many of our lives as gamers more than almost anyone else in the industry. He will be missed terribly.

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Keep on playing, guys.

Nintendo always has been close to my heart. I did not care about any other celebrity and such, but he made my childhood. I know my drawing skills are mediocre, but I just needed to do something to pay a tribute to this little guy. Sad to see him go, and I guess I can stop waiting for next nintendo direct...

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I wanted to do my own tribute to the great Satoru Iwata. This is my way of immortalizing him in my ROM hack.I hope you guys like it!

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On Twitter Inc. (TWTR):

And in the meme/GIF category:

For the hours upon hours of entertainment Nintendo has brought me.Thank you for that.

RIP to Satoru Iwata, the President of Nintendo. You will be missed

RIP Satoru.  More than a mere CEO, you were known as a great programmer.  And as the stories being told of you illustrate, more than a great programmer you were a great human being as well.  And at the end of the day, what is more important than that?

We'll remember the good times.

Source: Nintendo [PDF]

"Nowadays you can buy a CPU cheaper than the CPU fan." -- Unnamed AMD executive

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