In the 1980s, he leased a warehouse to Nintendo of America who made a decision to name the star of their new video game after him.
Nintendosaid in a statement to entertainment news website Variety, "Nintendo of America is sad to hear of Mr. Segale's passing, and we extend our sympathies to his family and friends".
The Super Mario character has become one of the most recognized characters in the world and it went on to become a franchise. He very rarely spoke to the press about his connections to Nintendo, and there are actually very few pictures of him available online. According to the article, Segale was originally the landlord of the building that Nintendo operated out of way back in the day, and that, allegedly, Nintendo was oftentimes late with the rent. A 1993 Seattle Times article quotes him as joking, "You might say I'm still waiting for my royalty checks", seemingly the only on-the-record comment on his ancillary role in Nintendo's history.
It was coincidence that linked him to Super Mario, and Segale preferred to view it as nothing more - even after the company that rented warehouse space from him later adopted the Super Mario character as its mascot.
Nintendo wanted proper names for the characters, so they named the hero after their landlord and the lady Pauline after a Nintendo of America employee's wife.
The Mario character went on to become a franchise, appearing in dozens of games, from auto racing to tennis.
Mario Segale is survived by his wife, four children, and nine grandchildren.