Mr Yamauchi ran the firm for 53 years, and was its second-largest shareholder at the time of his death. In that time, he took what was a small-time collectable trading card company and built it into one of the most recognisable and successful video games brands today.
Mr Yamauchi took over at Nintendo after his grandfather suffered a stroke. He utilised the work of legendary games designer Shigeru Miyamoto, who had made Donkey Kong, as a way of breaking into the US arcade game market. Mr Miyamoto’s later work was pivotal in the success of Nintendo’s home entertainment systems, titles such as Super Mario, Legend of Zelda and Starfox became commercial smashes and household names.
Mr Yamauchi, one of Japan’s richest men, also used to own the Seattle Mariners major league baseball club before selling it in 2004 to Nintendo’s US-based operation.
The company confirmed the news in an emailed statement. A spokesman said the firm was in mourning over the loss of the former Nintendo president Mr Hiroshi Yamauchi, who sadly passed away this morning. He died of pneumonia at a hospital in central Japan and a funeral will take place on Sunday.
Mr Yamauchi is responsible for shaping the games industry in to what it is today and we thank him for all he did.