'Mean' Gene Okerlund, Iconic Voice Of Pro Wrestling, Dies At 76

"Mean" Gene Okerlund, the iconic WWE backstage interviewer who played a role in some of the biggest moments in pro wrestling history died yesterday.

He was 76.

Okerlund's son, Tor Okerlund, told The Associated Press that his father died early yesterday at a hospital in Sarasota, Florida, near his home in Osprey, Florida, with his wife, Jeanne, by his side. His son added that his father, who had received three kidney transplants, fell a few weeks ago "and it just kind of went from bad to worse.''

Okerlund stood next to Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair, Randy "Macho Man" Savage, Andre the Giant, the Ultimate Warrior and many others from the mid- to late-1980s and teed up the stars of that era to deliver some of their most memorable promos. In the mid-1990s, Okerlund moved to rival WCW and stood in the ring as garbage rained down upon Hogan as he formed the nWo.

"A voice and soundtrack to an entire era of our industry. He was the star of some of WWE's most memorable segments," WWE executive vice president Paul "Triple H" Levesque tweeted. "'Mean Gene' was beloved by all who got to work with him. Our thoughts are with his family at this difficult time."

Okerlund returned to the WWE fold upon the closing of WCW in a variety of roles and appearances, and was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2006, by Hogan.

 
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