Miyamoto saddened by sudden death of Iwata
Nintendo senior managing director Shigeru Miyamoto (right) says that he is overcome with sadness at the death of his friend and collaborator Satoru Iwata (left) Reuters

Following the untimely death of his friend and collaborator Satoru Iwata, the creator of Mario, Shigeru Miyamoto, says he is overcome with sadness but vows to continue the work they started together.

In a statement, Miyamoto said:

I am surprised at this sudden news and overcome with sadness. The entire development team at Nintendo will remain committed to our development policy which Mr. Iwata and we have been constructing together and to yield the development results which Mr. Iwata would appreciate.

Miyamoto is seen by many as Iwata's natural successor as president and CEO of Nintendo and at least in the interim, he will take charge of the company along with Genyo Takeda.

Miyamoto is the creator of beloved game series such as Mario, Zelda and Donkey Kong, and like Iwata is a much-loved figure among Nintendo fans and beyond. He counts the likes of Paul McCartney among his friends.

Nintendo of Europe president Satoru Shibata also expressed his sadness at the news of Iwata's death:

"It is difficult to put into words the sadness we feel at this time. Mr. Iwata was a strong leader, a unique figure in the gaming industry and an important part of Nintendo's history. He was a visionary in every sense of the word and we will miss him dearly. Just as Mr. Iwata challenged us to always push forward, we will ensure his legacy lives on through our ongoing work to always surprise and delight our fans. At this time our thoughts are with his family."