“Mean Gene” Okerlund, the professional wrestling announcer who was a major part of the wrestling world in the 1980s and 1990s, passed away Wednesday at the age of 76, and tributes have been pouring in from around the world of wrestling, per the Inquisitr.
Okerlund’s death had been announced Wednesday morning by WWE’s official Twitter account, which described “Mean Gene” as “the most recognizable interviewer in sports-entertainment history.”
Hulk Hogan, the living wrestler with whom Okerlund was most synonymous, tweeted, “Mean Gene I love you my brother HH.” Okerlund was the announcer for Hogan’s 1980s run in WWE, and the two later worked together in the 1990s in WCW. During Hogan’s famous heel turn to join the NWO in 1996, Okerlund interviewed him after the match.
Longtime WWE announcer and executive Jim Ross also remembered his late friend.
“So sad today to hear of the sudden passing of my dear friend
@TheGeneOkerlund,” Ross wrote on Twitter. “I just saw Mean Gene in North Carolina at WrestleCade. It’s so true that our tomorrow’s are never guaranteed. Say hello to Jan, Mean Gene.” [Jan is Ross’ wife, who was killed in an accident in 2017.]
“WWE universe has lost one of its greatest announcers and truly one of the nicest guys you’d ever know,” wrote the 1980s wrestling villain “Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase. “‘Mean’ Gene Okerlund, RIP my friend.”
“Just heard Mean Gene Okerlund has passed away,” “Stone Cold” Steve Austin wrote on Twitter following the news of Okerlund’s death. “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.”
“A voice and sound track to an entire era of our industry,” wrote Paul “Triple H” Levesque, the WWE star and executive. “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.”
Longtime WWE head Vince McMahon has not yet reacted on social media to Okerlund’s death, although he did wish Mean Gene a happy birthday, back on December 19.
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
Okerlund was also remembered by the top wrestling journalists.
“Sad to hear about the death of Gene Okerlund,” Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter said. “He was a classic character.” David Bixenspan, the Deadspin wrestling writer, retweeted several tributes to the late announcer.