"Mean" Gene Okerlund, the announcer and interviewer famous for decades spent hosting the WWE’s programs, has passed away at 76.
WWE broke the sad news in a tweet Wednesday morning:
WWE is saddened to learn that WWE Hall of Famer Gene Okerlund, the most recognizable interviewer in sports-entertainment history, has passed away at age 76.
While Okerlund has worked for a number of wrestling promotions in his decades-long career, he will be remembered best for his backstage interviews with WWE (then WWF) stars, including during the ‘80s heyday of wrestlers like Hulk Hogan and Macho Man Randy Savage.
Although Okerlund was known as an out-of-ring personality, he stepped into the squared circle a handful of times, including during a tag-team match alongside Hulk Hogan.
Hogan was one of the many wrestlers to pay tribute to Okerlund on social media, writing, "Mean Gene I love you brother."
Wrestler Triple H, one of WWE's executives, called Okerlund "beloved by all who got to work with him," and said he was "a voice and sound track to an entire era of our industry."
Mean Gene I love you my brother HH— Hulk Hogan (@HulkHogan) January 2, 2019
While Okerlund left the WWE (then WWF) in 1993 to join WCW, he returned to the company in 2001 and was later inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame.
He went on to sign a lifetime contract with the company, and appeared on recent WWE Network programs like Legends’ House.
A cause was not included in WWE's statement.