Nikkei reported the story, with BBC News providing their take in English. Yamauchi took over Nintendo from his ailing grandfather back in 1949 and stayed in his leadership role all the way until 2002, an impressive 53 year span. During his time as president, he no longer had the company focused purely on the trading card business, expanding into other fields of media. Ultimately, Nintendo became a company that specialized in arcade and video gaming devices.
Mr. Yamauchi was the president in charge of the development, production and completion of 4 of Nintendo’s home consoles. The Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), Super NES, Nintendo 64 and the Nintendo Game Cube were overseen by the famed president, as well as production of many first party games. Mario, Luigi, Link, Zelda, Samus, Fox McCloud, Donkey Kong; these iconic characters may not have existed today if not for the direction of company president Hiroshi Yamauchi.
In 2002, Yamauchi stepped down to give way to current president Satoru Iwata. He remained as chairman of the board until 2005. It is a tough day for fans of Nintendo and their ongoing commitment to make fun and creative games. While Nintendo lives on, Hiroshi Yamauchi surely will be missed.