Naruto Character Breakdown # 5 - Yahiko - Founder of Akatsuki
Yahiko was a shinobi from Amegakure and founder of the original Akatsuki before his death. However, Yahiko's corpse became the vessel through which his team-mate Nagato acts under the name of Pain, the Deva Path of Nagato's Six Paths of Pain.
During the second Shinobi World War, Yahiko became an orphan and was forced to survive by stealing food. After a while he befriended fellow orphans Konan and Nagato (eventually Pain), before they accidentally met and were taken in by Jiraiya. Jiraiya eventually taught them basic ninjitsu, and the three would eventually become skilled shinobi, with Yahiko as their leader.
Yahiko, sticking true to his promise as a child, founded the Akatsuki with the hope that the group could lead the Amegakure to peace and prosperity. They eventually met with Hanzo, Amegakure's leader at the time, to discuss a possible peace between the other warring shinobi nations. They were, however, betrayed, with Konan being kidnapped. Hanzon told Nagato to either kill Yahiko or Konan would be killed, but Yahiko acted first by impaling himself onto Nagato's kunai.
Yahiko's body would eventually be employed by Nagato as the Deva Path. It was so dear to Nagato that Nagato would present that Path as his "body," and even in combat would sacrifice the other Paths to save the Deva Path.
This was the sad ending of Nagato's dear friend, and handed over the Akatsuki to Nagato. This would be called one of Nagato's first of 2 great pains.