On July 11th, 2015, then Nintendo President Satoru Iwata tragically passed away due to complications from a tumor. Despite struggling with health issues for more than a year after his initial surgery forced him to miss E3 2014, Iwata continued working diligently right up until the end, even from a hospital bed. It is now the 11th in Japan once again, marking three years since Iwata's heartbreaking death.
Even though Iwata is gone, his influence has been an undeniable factor in Nintendo's recent success. Nintendo Switch, Nintendo's mobile games, and their upcoming film projects (like the upcoming Mario movie) and theme parks were all set in motion by Iwata prior to his death. In fact, Tatsumi Kimishima (Nintendo's President from Iwata's death until just last month) considered it his personal mission to bring Iwata's vision to fruition, and he has wonderfully succeeded in that quest.
Over the decades, Iwata's incredible programming skills were crucial to the development of fan favorite games like Pokémon Gold and Silver and EarthBound. As Nintendo's President, he led the company to its most profitable era ever with the success of Wii and DS, and he voluntarily took pay cuts during the low period that followed with Wii U. He was loved by many for starring in the Nintendo Direct video presentations, and he always focused on bringing smiles to as many faces as possible.
Iwata's mindset as a corporate leader is best summed up in one of his most iconic quotes: "On my business card, I am a corporate president. In my mind, I am a game developer. But in my heart, I am a gamer."
If you'd like to know more about the incredible life of Satoru Iwata, there are numerous retrospectives you can check out. A personal favorite of mine is the Gaming Historian's take, which you can watch above. It covers some of the most memorable stories about Iwata from his early childhood right up until the end, focusing on "his life, his accomplishments, and why he was important to the video game industry."