Nintendo's Hiroshi Yamauchi Dies Aged 85
Nintendo pioneer Hiroshi Yamauchi, who ran the games company for more than 50 years and turned it into an iconic brand, has died.
The company said: "Nintendo is in mourning today from the sad loss of the former Nintendo president Mr Hiroshi Yamauchi, who sadly passed away this morning."
Mr Yamauchi was 85 years old and died from pneumonia.
The grandson of Nintendo's founder, he saw the potential of electronic gaming in the 1970s and began the playing card company's transition into a video gaming giant.
He was responsible for hiring legendary games designer Shigeru Miyamoto and approving the production of games like Mario Brothers, The Legend Of Zelda and Donkey Kong.
He was also in charge during Nintendo's heyday in the 1980s and 90s when its NES, Super Nintendo, Gameboy and Nintendo 64 consoles sold millions.
Mr Yamauchi, who once owned the Seattle Mariners major league baseball club, stepped down from Nintendo in 2002.
In recent years, despite its success with consoles such as the Wii, the company has struggled to compete with the popularity of the PlayStation and Xbox consoles.
At the time of his death he was an executive adviser to Nintendo and its second biggest shareholder, owning about 10% of the stock.
He was also one of Japan's richest men with an estimated $2.1bn (£1.3bn).
Current Nintendo boss Satoru Iwata paid tribute to his predecessor and said the company would keep his soul alive.
"Mr Yamauchi has taught us that there is value in being different," said Iwata in a statement.
"We will continue to flexibly change the shape of Nintendo from one era to another, as Mr Yamauchi has done, and Nintendo, as a whole company, will keep his soul alive."