The creator of Mario could be in line to become the next president of Nintendo.
"I am truly surprised and saddened by this unexpected news," Miyamoto said in a statement. "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 one of just two directors currently in place at Nintendo, with the other being integrated research division boss Genyo Takeda. Takeda has worked on all Nintendo hardware since 1981, although he also has a number of successful software credits to his name including Punch Out and Pilotwings 64.
Nintendo's American boss Reggie Fils-Aime arguably remains a possibility, too, although Nintendo – like many Japanese companies – likes to hire close to home. Iwata was the first Nintendo president not to come from the Yamauchi family, for instance.
It's hard to think of a more popular appointment than Miyamoto, however. Perhaps the most celebrated developer of all time, he is credited as creator of a string of super-franchises including Super Mario, Donkey Kong and The Legend of Zelda.