WWE's iconic announcer and backstage interviewer "Mean" Gene Okerlund passed away today, January 2nd, at the age of 76.
WWE broke the news Wednesday morning with the following tweet:
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. //t.co/DyPiEiVLoV— WWE (@WWE) January 2, 2019
Okerlund will go down as one of the most quintessential WWE personalities of all time. While his career took him to several wrestling promotions, he'll be most remembered playing the straight man during rambunctious interviews with the likes of Hulk Hogan and "Macho Man" Randy Savage.
The "Mean Gene" moniker came from Jesse "The Body" Ventura when he and Okerlund shared the camera during their old days in AWA. The nickname followed Okerlund to WWE in 1984 as he went on to permanently endear himself to the wrestling world.
Okerlund left WWE for WCW in 1993 where his presence added an instant gratification to Ted Turner's product. With nostalgic acts like Okerlund, Hogan, Savage, and Ric Flair, WCW quickly became the toughest competition WWE would ever face. Okerlund's on-camera work helped cultivate the next generation of WCW stars like the NWO, Diamond Dallas Page, and Bill Goldberg.
"Mene Gene" was inducted into WWE's Hall of Fame in 2006 alongside Bret Hart, Eddie Guerrero, and Sensation Sheri.
Okerlund is survived by his wife and two children. His cause of death remains unknown.
Rest in peace, Mean Gene.