Satoru Iwata has issued the following short statement:

We will continue to treasure the values Yamauchi taught us - that what makes you unique lies at the core of entertainment. And we at Nintendo will continue to change the company flexibly to adapt to the times, as Yamauchi did, to carry on his spirit.

Original Article:

Nintendo has announced that the third President of the company, Hiroshi Yamauchi, has passed away — he was 85 years old.

Born in Kyoto, Japan — where Nintendo's headquarters are based — Yamauchi-san took over the Presidency of Nintendo at a young age, in 1949, when his grandfather and predecessor suffered from ill-health. At that stage Nintendo was a trading card company, yet under his leadership the company began to truly embrace the potential of electronic entertainment in the late 1970s and '80s. It was under Yamauchi-san that Nintendo produced its early arcade products, and of course the President elected to entrust a young Shigeru Miyamoto to produce an arcade which would become the iconic Donkey Kong — a game that transformed the company's early fortunes in the industry.

In the following decades Nintendo would establish itself as the largest video game console manufacturer in the world, with the NES, Super NES, Nintendo 64 and GameCube, as well as the series of portable Game Boy systems. After such an extended period at the helm of the company and having overseen its rapid expansion in the video game industry, Yamauchi-san stepped down on 31st May 2002 to be succeeded by Nintendo's current President — Satoru Iwata.

Hiroshi Yamauchi was then the chairman of the board of directors until 29th June 2005, and remained the company's biggest shareholder beyond that date. Our condolences to his family.

[source nikkei.com, via bbc.co.uk, officialnintendomagazine.co.uk]