June 24, 2014 / 1:16 PM / in 4 years

UPDATE 1-Nintendo CEO has tumour removed, needs time to return to work

* Nintendo CEO Iwata says had surgery last week, to miss Friday AGM

* Nintendo declines comment on whether bile duct tumour was malignant

* Iwata, CEO since 2002, under pressure after Nintendo posts third annual loss (Adds details on Iwata’s health, Nintendo’s business)

TOKYO, June 24 (Reuters) - Nintendo Co’s Chief Executive Satoru Iwata announced on Tuesday that he had surgery to remove a tumour in his bile duct and would need more time to return to work.

Iwata told shareholders in a letter on Tuesday that he would miss Friday’s annual general meeting. He had surgery last week and “came through it well,” he said.

He had also missed the E3 video game conference, held June 10-12 in Los Angeles, citing health reasons. He had attended the conference every year since becoming CEO in 2002.

The company declined to comment on the details of his condition, including whether the tumor was benign. Iwata said a growth was found in his bile duct during a routine physical examination.

“I have already resumed my business by email and by other means, but it is anticipated that a little more time is needed for me to return to my regular work schedule,” he said.

Iwata has come under pressure for Nintendo’s declining popularity as consumers shift to mobile gaming and new consoles from rivals Sony Corp and Microsoft Corp. So far, the company has stuck to its game console strategy, ignoring calls to shift to mobile gaming.

Nintendo ended the last business year by booking its third straight loss, as sales of its Wii U console fell far short of projections due to a paucity of games. (Reporting by Reiji Murai; Writing by Ritsuko Ando; Editing by Clarence Fernandez and Louise Heavens)

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