Japanese videogame maker Nintendo Co. Ltd's president and chief executive Satoru Iwata has died on Saturday (11 July) at the age of 55, a company statement said.

No successor was announced but Nintendo's senior managing directors Genyo Takeda and Shigeru Miyamoto have been appointed as representative directors, a brief statement said.

Iwata underwent surgery in June last year to remove a growth in his bile duct and resumed his duties after a brief period of recovery.

In a letter apologising for missing the company's shareholders' meeting in 2014, he said: "In general, it is said that bile duct growth can be difficult to treat, partly because of the difficulty of detecting it early. In my case, luckily, it was detected very early and I had no symptoms."

In October, he said he had recovered well enough to resume his regular duties and that he felt healthier despite having lost weight, Reuters reported.

Iwata has been a director at the Kyoto-based company since 2000 and was appointed president in 2002. He was also the chief executive of the US operations since 2013.

He had initially opposed Nintendo's move into mobile until the last months of his life. In May when he released the company's full year results, he said the company's long-awaited entry into smartphone games would help it double annual operating profit in the current financial year.

"The world is changing, so any company that is not coping with the change will fall into decline," he had said.

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Under his leadership, Nintendo rolled out the popular Nintendo DS and Wii platforms. Even while moving up the corporate ladder, Iwata had noted how he was a gamer first, CNN reported.

"On my business card, I am a corporate president. In my mind, I am a game developer. But in my heart, I am a gamer," he told a conference for game developers in 2005.

Last year, Iwata said he would slash his salary in half for several months to atone for the company's declining profits as the company struggled with rivals Sony and Microsoft in console sales.

Satoshi Tanaka, an analyst at Daiwa Securities Capital Markets told AFP: "When you sit back and think about it ... I don't see that there is anyone who can run the company like Iwata. Under his leadership, it was making small but steady steps forward.

"I am afraid the company might lose balance without Iwata," Tanaka said.