Mr Sega Dreamcast
Image: SEGA

Hidekazu Yukawa, former managing director of SEGA at the time of the Dreamcast's release and dubbed by fans as 'Mr. Sega', has passed away, it has been revealed.

Famitsu shared the news that Yukawa, 78, passed due to complications from pneumonia last June. His family chose to keep this news private until today.

Yukawa stepped into the role of managing director in 1998 and became an unlikely star, appearing in plenty of adverts for the Dreamcast and even on the box for the console when it launched in Japan. One of the most famous commercials focused on kids teasing the director, saying that Sony is much better than Sega. Yukawa, however, stuck up for the Dreamcast in the ad, and the commercial became hugely popular in Japan. So popular, in fact, that he got his own game — Yukawa Motosenmu no Otakara Sagashi — and some Sonic Adventure DLC.

Shenmue series fans will likely know of him from the promotional demo disc released in Japan called What's Shenmue, which had you — as Ryo Hazuki — chase down the managing director and save him from a gang of thugs.

Both Yuji Naka and Sonic the Hedgehog's Japanese voice actor Junichi Kanemaru have shared their condolences on Twitter.

On behalf of the Nintendo Life community, we send our condolences to Yukawa's friends and family.