Prior to current Nintendo President Satoru Iwata, the Japanese company was helmed by Hiroshi Yamauchi who took over from his grandfather in 1949. It was Yamauchi who oversaw Nintendo’s transition from a card game company into a video game company. In a sense, he’s pretty much the reason Nintendo is the company that it is today.
Yamauchi was Nintendo’s president for 53 years and stepped down in 2002 shortly after the release of the GameCube. According to Kotaku, Yamauchi was once the richest man in Japan; not surprising, really.
Reports of Yamauchi’s death came from Japanese newspaper Nikkei. He was 85 years old.