Mario Segale, the Real-life Namesake of Nintendo's Famous Character, Dies at 84

Mario Segale, the real-estate developer whose name was the inspiration for the much beloved Nintendo video game character, has died at age 84.

According to an obituary, Segale died surrounded by his family on October 27, after a career creating a "remarkable legacy" with his self-taught business acumen.

Outside of his hugely successful construction and real estate businesses, Segale also leaves an entirely different legacy: being the person the Super Mario video game character was named after.

In 1981, Segale rented out a warehouse in Tukwila, Washington, to Nintendo of America, which the company used as its headquarters. During that time, legendary games developer Shigeru Miyamoto was designing the classic Donkey Kong game and needed a name for the playable character, who at the time was simply known as Jumpman, reported Kotaku.

The company reportedly used "Mario" as a nickname after their landlord, and it just stuck. The Italian plumber went on to become one of the most successful and recognizable video game characters of all time.

However, for decades Segale chose to shun all publicity and involvement with the Nintendo character, fearing that being associated with Mario could damage the reputation of his businesses.

It is believed that the only time Segale spoke on record about Mario was for a 1993 article in The Seattle Times.

Mario Segale (left) inspired the name of Nintendo’s hugely successful video game character (right). marlattfuneralhome/JOSH EDELSON/AFP/Getty Images

"So what does Segale think of his name being used for a game that has sold more than 100 million copies [at time time] and made Nintendo one of the world's most profitable companies, not to mention the Super Mario Bros. movie just released?" the article read, reported PC World.

"You might say I'm still waiting for my royalty checks," Segale responded.

His obituary stated how he wished to be remembered for his own achievements in life rather than for Nintendo choosing to name its biggest character after him.

"The innovations he brought to the construction industry that are still seen today attest to his remarkable creativity," the obituary read.

"While he was the inspiration for the name of Nintendo's 'Super Mario' from when they were tenants in his business park in the 1970s, he always ducked the notoriety and wanted to be known instead for what he accomplished in his life. Indeed, for generations of his family to come, and for the people who had a chance to know him well, his impact will remain ever present."

Segale is survived by his wife, Donna, four children and nine grandchildren.