“Mean” Gene Okerlund, the longtime interviewer for world Wrestling Entertainment, died Wednesday. He to be 76.

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In an era that neon and feathers, big hair and bigger mouths, Gene Okerlund organized his own alongside the loudest personalities that wrestling had to offer.

Standing in the shadow of towering, Spandex-clad men, the 5-foot-9 Okerlund, pull on in a succinct suit and also tie, would interrogate human being Wrestling Entertainment’s best stars, consisting of Hulk Hogan and also “Macho Man” Randy Savage, in backstage interviews.

Okerlund died Wednesday, the WWE announced in a statement on that is website. He to be 76.

“Mean Gene i love you mine brother,” Hogan tweeted quickly after the news was reported.

According to the Washington Post, Okerlund passed away at a hospital in Sarasota, Fla. The cause of death is not recognized at this time, despite Okerlund did have actually a history of kidney trouble.

Born in Robbinsdale, Minn., top top Dec. 19, 1942, and raised in Sisseton, S.D., Okerlund spoke in a sonorous ton that available a sharp contrast to the outrageous wrestlers through his side.

While in high institution in 1959, he started a band called Gene Carroll and the Shades in an effort to tap into the rock ’n’ role craze taking the country by storm. The band found some success in the top Midwest and was inducted into the southern Dakota Rock and also Roll hall of call in 2009.

Okerlund shortly moved past music, researching broadcast journalism at the university of Nebraska-Lincoln, going on to serve as a effective disc jockey, before transferring his talent to television.

In 1970, Okerlund started work in ~ the American wrestling Association, ultimately landing the project of ring announcer and also interviewer.

In 1984, that made the leap come the WWE and became a cable television mainstay, interviewing professional wrestling’s height talents. He likewise became host of several series, consisting of “All-American Wrestling,” “Tuesday Night Titans,” “Wrestling Challenge” and “Prime Time Wrestling.”

Despite leaving WWE for human being Championship wrestles in 1993, Okerlund returned to the wrinkles in 2001, where he worked for the rest of his career.

Several WWE stars expressed your grief over the announcer’s fatality Wednesday.

“A voice and also soundtrack to an entire era of our industry,” WWE executive, management Vice president Paul “Triple H” Levesque tweeted. “He to be the star of several of
WWE’s many memorable segments. ‘Mean Gene’ was beloved by all who gained to job-related with him. Ours thoughts room with his family at this challenging time.”

Okerlund to be inducted into the WWE hall of fame in 2006 and also last showed up on WWE TV top top Jan. 22, 2018, come interview A.J. Formats for the 25th anniversary of “Raw.”

Okerlund is made it through by his wife of 54 years, Jeanne Okerlund; two sons, Todd Okerlund and Tor Okerlund; and three grandchildren.

Loved mean Gene. One of the great guys. A life fine lived, fine done friend. RIP pic.twitter.com/zU5thVkTmW

— man Layfield (

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Libby Hill is a previous television reporter because that the Los Angeles Times. Her TV evaluation has showed up at Salon, Vulture, Rolling stone and the new York Times. Hill, a indigenous of south Dakota, has actually a passel the cats, too countless books and also a perpetually complete DVR.