Yamauchi, the grandson of Nintendo's founder, died Thursday from pneumonia complications, according to a statement released by the company. He was Nintendo's largest shareholder with about 10 percent of the stock.
He ran Nintendo from 1942 to 2002. After stepping down, Yamuachi remained a shareholder and retained an advisory role in the company. In 2008 he was named Japan's richest man by Forbes Asia with a net worth of $7.8 billion.
Under Yamauchi's reign, Nintendo rolled out the first portable video game device called "Game $ Watch," in 1980. He was also behind the creation of a few of the brand's staple characters, by hiring artist Shigeru Miyamoto, who crafted the likes of Donkey Kong, Mario and Zelda.
Yamauchi is survived by his oldest son Katsuhito.