Nintendo and video game industry legend Hiroshi Yamauchi died at a hospital in central Japan on Thursday after battling pneumonia at the age of 85.
Yamauchi, a dropout of Waseda University in Tokyo, was president of Nintendo from 1949 to 2002. He led Nintendo's transformation as a maker of playing cards to the company that would lead the video game industry's resurgence with the introduction of the Nintendo Entertainment System, or NES as it was commonly called, in 1985 here in the U.S.
The NES is the 10th best-selling video game console of all time, selling more than 61 million units, according to VGChartz. The original GameBoy was introduced in 1989 and has sold more than 118 million units, making it the best-selling video game console. The Nintendo 64 sold more than 32 million units, placing 13th among best-selling video game consoles. Each of these Nintendo consoles was introduced while Yamauchi was president of Nintendo.
Yamauchi played a key role in hiring Shigeru Miyamoto, a video game legend in is own right, who is behind some of the greatest hits in video game history, including "Super Mario Bros," "Donkey Kong," "The Legend of Zelda," "Super Mario 64" and other titles.
Yamauchi also owned the Seattle Mariners until 2004, when he sold it to Nintendo's U.S. division.
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Yamauchi is survived by his eldest son, Katsuhito Yamauchi. A wake will be held on Saturday, while a funeral service will take place on Sunday.