Former Nintendo President Hiroshi Yamauchi has died at the age of 85, Japanese newspaper Nikkei reports.
Yamauchi joined the company when its primary business was the creation of card games, later overseeing Nintendo's initial steps into video games. His career with the games company spans 53 years, having taken on the role of company president in 1949 until 2002.
Despite stepping down from the company in 2002 following the launch of the Nintendo GameCube, Yamauchi remained closely tied to Nintendo and was its largest shareholder as of March 2013.
Nintendo's current president, Satorua Iwata, issued the following statement: "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."