Famed WWE announcer ‘Mean’ Gene Okerlund has died

Cast members Gene Okerlund and Hillbilly Jim attend the WWE screening of "Legends' House" at Smith & Wollensky on April 15, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for WWE)

Famed WWE wrestling announcer and interviewer “Mean” Gene Okerlund has died. He was 76 years old.

The WWE announced Okerlund’s passing Wednesday morning.

Okerlund began his wrestling interviewing career in the early 1970s with Minneapolis-based AWA. He later became one of professional wrestling’s most-recognizable faces with World Wrestling Entertainment in its heyday, interviewing legends such as Hulk Hogan, “Macho Man” Randy Savage and Jesse “The Body” Ventura, who christened Okerlund with the “Mean” moniker.

In addition to announcing and interviewing, Okerlund hosted a number of wrestling shows, such as “All-American Wrestling.” He even appeared in the ring as a competitor on occasion, including once with Hogan.

Okerlund went to WWE’s rival, World Championship Wrestling, in 1993. He was reunited with WWE after the promotion bought WCW in 2001. He was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2006.

Wrestlers young and old took to Twitter Wednesday to express their condolences.

“As an interviewer, pitch man, announcer, or host, he was untouchable,” said “Stone Cold” Steve Austin. “Simply the best. Total professional with quick wit, sarcasm, humor, and that golden voice. Condolences to his friends and family.”

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