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

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In an era of neon and feathers, big hair and bigger mouths, Gene Okerlund hosted his own next to the loudest individualities that wrestling had to offer.

Standing in the zero of towering, Spandex-clad men, the 5-foot-9 Okerlund, pull on in a neat suit and also tie, would certainly interrogate people Wrestling Entertainment’s greatest stars, including Hulk Hogan and also “Macho Man” Randy Savage, in backstage interviews.

Okerlund passed away Wednesday, the WWE announced in a statement on its website. He was 76.

“Mean Gene ns love you mine brother,” Hogan tweeted soon after the news to be reported.

According come the Washington Post, Okerlund passed away at a hospital in Sarasota, Fla. The cause of death is not well-known at this time, despite Okerlund did have actually a background of kidney trouble.

Born in Robbinsdale, Minn., top top Dec. 19, 1942, and raised in Sisseton, S.D., Okerlund spoke in a sonorous tone that offered a sharp comparison to the outrageous wrestlers by his side.

While in high institution in 1959, he began a band named Gene Carroll and the Shades in an effort to tap right into the absent ’n’ role craze taking the nation by storm. The band found some success in the top Midwest and also was inducted into the southern Dakota Rock and also Roll hall of fame in 2009.

Okerlund shortly moved past music, researching broadcast journalism in ~ the college of Nebraska-Lincoln, walk on to serve as a successful disc jockey, prior to transferring his talent to television.

In 1970, Okerlund started work at the American wrestles Association, eventually landing the project of ring announcer and interviewer.

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

Despite leave WWE for human being Championship rings in 1993, Okerlund went back to the fold in 2001, whereby he operated for the remainder of his career.

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

“A voice and soundtrack to an entire era of our industry,” WWE executive, management Vice chairman Paul “Triple H” Levesque tweeted. “He was the star of some of
WWE’s many memorable segments. ‘Mean Gene’ to be beloved by every who got to work-related with him. Our thoughts space with his family at this an overwhelming time.”

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

Okerlund is endured by his wife of 54 years, Jeanne Okerlund; 2 sons, Todd Okerlund and Tor Okerlund; and three grandchildren.

Loved average Gene. Among the an excellent guys. A life well lived, fine done friend. RIP pic.twitter.com/zU5thVkTmW

— man Layfield (

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Libby Hill is a former television reporter for the Los Angeles Times. Her TV evaluation has appeared at Salon, Vulture, Rolling rock and the brand-new York Times. Hill, a aboriginal of southern Dakota, has actually a passel that cats, too many books and also a perpetually full DVR.