“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,” WWE said in a tweet.
“Mean Gene,” as he was named by fellow Minnesotan Jesse “The Body” Ventura, was first an interviewer in the American Wrestling Association.
In 1984, he made the move to WWE, according to a post on their website, where “he became as recognizable as the Superstars he asked the tough questions to, including “Macho Man” Randy Savage, The Ultimate Warrior and, perhaps Okerlund’s greatest guest, Hulk Hogan.”
Hogan tweeted, “Mean Gene I love you my brother HH.” Other tributes came in as well. See those, below.
It’s not yet known how Okerlund died, but he reportedly had two kidney transplants in the past.
A voice and sound track to an entire era of our industry. He was the star of some of @WWE’s most memorable segments. “Mean Gene” was beloved by all who got to work with him. Our thoughts are with his family at this difficult time. https://t.co/9ddj6372eE
— Triple H (@TripleH) January 2, 2019
Mean Gene I love you my brother HH
— Hulk Hogan (@HulkHogan) January 2, 2019
Just heard Mean Gene Okerlund has passed away. As an interviewer, pitch man, announcer, or host, he was untouchable. Simply the best. Total professional with quick wit, sarcasm, humor, and that golden voice.
Condolences to his friends and family.
— Steve Austin (@steveaustinBSR) January 2, 2019
RIP MY BROTHER GENE MEAN. YOU PUT ME OVER LIKE NOBODY. I LOVE YOU AND YOUR FAMILY SINCE THE MINNESOTA. GIVE MY BROTHER NIKOLAI BUG HUG. GOD BLESS YOU. CAMERA MAN ZOOM IT. pic.twitter.com/5k0VRXbKMI
— The Iron Sheik (@the_ironsheik) January 2, 2019
RIP Mean Gene
— Matt Cardona (@ZackRyder) January 2, 2019
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. https://t.co/DyPiEiVLoV
— WWE (@WWE) January 2, 2019