“Mean” Gene Okerlund, a World Wrestling Entertainment Hall of Famer and famed interviewer, died Wednesday at the age of 76, the WWE announced.
WWE did not release a cause of death.
Okerlund was the most well-known professional wrestling interviewer, and perhaps the most iconic person in that role in sports. While he first became known in the American Wrestling Association, it was his role as the backstage interviewer in the World Wrestling Federation in the mid-1980s that grew his fame. His straight-man act as the interviewer while asking questions to over-the-top personalities such as Randy Savage, the Ultimate Warrior and Hulk Hogan still resonate.
He would later go to World Championship Wrestling, where he would interact with Ric Flair, who would always begin interviews with “Mean! By God Gene!”
Wrestlers and those connected to the business spent much of Wednesday morning tweeting their condolences and sharing stories. Whether it was a story involving themselves or a favorite interview segment, most included comments about how he was one of the most respected people in the wrestling business.
Triple H tweeted, “A voice and sound track to an entire era of our industry. He was the star of some of WWE’s most memorable segments.”
Flair added, “Not Only The Greatest Voice And Personality In The History Of Announcing, But A Man Who Touched Everyone’s Life Who Were Fortunate Enough To Know Him.”