Hiroshi Yamauchi, who helped transition Nintendo from a small playing-card company into a multi-billion dollar global video-gaming empire, died Thursday in Japan.
Yamauchi took over the company in 1949 and created a legacy before stepping down 53 years later on May 31, 2002, to be succeeded by Satoru Iwata. As of April 2013, Forbes estimated Yamauchi’s net worth at $2.1 billion. He was #13 on this year’s Japan rich list and 491st richest in the world. In 2008, Yamauchi was Japan’s wealthiest person with a fortune at that time estimated at $7.8 billion. At the time of his death, Yamauchi was the largest shareholder at Nintendo.
Hiroshi is responsible for many of Nintendo's success', including the hit games Donkey Kong, Zelda & Mario. Under his guidance, Nintendo created the Gameboy, Nintendo Entertainment System, Nintendo-64, and Nintendo GameCube, which are some of the most successful gaming platforms in history.
“The entire Nintendo group will carry on the spirit of Mr. Yamauchi by honoring, in our approach to entertainment, the sense of value he has taught us — that there is merit in doing what is different — and at the same time, by changing Nintendo in accordance with changing times,” said current Nintendo President Satoru Iwata in a statement sent to CNN.