Nintendo senior managing director Nobuo Nagai has died aged 66 after a battle with stomach cancer.

Nagai joined Nintendo in 1967, becoming a director in 2000 before moving up to managing director, eventually becoming senior managing director and representative director in 2004.

Among Nintendo's board of directors, Nagai had worked at Nintendo the longest, with 44 years of service under his belt.

Nagai headed up Nintendo's Uji manufacturing plant, with Nintendo president Satoru Iwata remarking in a 3DS Iwata Asks:

The first thing (Nobuo) Nagai-san, who's in charge at the Uji plant, said to me when he looked over the designs for Nintendo 3DS before mass production began was "This time it's fully packed right from the start."

A Nintendo statement says:

Nintendo Co., Ltd. deeply regrets to announce that Representative Director Nobuo Nagai (Senior Managing Director and General Manager, Manufacturing Division) passed away yesterday (January 22, 2012) and has retired as Director. Mr. Nagai's contribution to Nintendo was greatly appreciated and he will be deeply missed.