Nexon founder Jung-Ju Kim
Jung-Ju “JJ” Kim, founder of online game publisher Nexon, has died at the age of 54.
Nexon announced that he died in Hawaii on February 28.
Nexon did not provide a cause of death, but noted that he was undergoing treatment for depression and that his symptoms had recently increased, according to the Korea Herald.
His sudden death came as a huge shock to the South Korean gaming industry which sees Kim as an icon and pioneer.
The company did not disclose the cause of death.
According to media reports, Kim was undergoing treatment for depression, and his condition appeared to be getting worse. He left behind his wife and two daughters.
Nexon founder Jung-ju Jay Kim has passed away at age 54
Kim, who founded Nexon in 1994, pioneered free-to-play computer and video games, and launched Massively Multiplayer Online-Role-Playing Game (MMORPG) in 1996.
Its popular titles include The Kingdom of the Winds, MapleStory, KartRider, Mabinogi, and Dungeon & Fighter.
The Nexon founder has also been involved in philanthropy that has impacted millions of young people and has included significant contributions to health and education including the Purme Foundation Nexon Hospital for Children’s Rehabilitation in Seoul, South Korea and the Nexon Foundation to build hospitals for children.
Kim resigned as CEO of NXC after serving 16 years and handed over his position to JaeKyo Lee last year.
Kim considered selling his largest stake in NXC worth about $9 billion in 2019 but withdrew the sale because he couldn’t find a suitable buyer.
According to Forbes, Kim, the third richest man in South Korea as of May 2021, pledged to donate $93 million to startups and children’s hospitals in 2018.