It’s a sad day for professional wrestling fans around the world. Gene Okerlund, better known as “Mean Gene,” has passed away at 76 years old. The news was confirmed by CBS News and WWE, where he became one of the most recognizable interviewers in the history of the industry.

Okerlund got his start in the professional wrestling industry in 1970 when he began working for the American Wrestling Association as a part-time ring announcer and interviewer. During this time, he was given the nickname “Mean Gene” by Jesse “The Body” Ventura. It was in 1983 that he moved to what was known at the time as the WWF, becoming a mainstay on the company’s various shows during the pro wrestling boom brought on by the rise of Hulk Hogan.

He stayed with the company for a decade before moving to WCW, where he stayed until WWE purchased the company in 2001. At that point, Okerlund returned to the company that made him famous and appeared sporadically over the years, even filming a reality show for the company called Legends House, which is available on the WWE Network.

In the wake of Okerlund’s death, a number of WWE superstars, both past and present, shares their condolences online. “A voice and [soundtrack] to an entire era of our industry,” Triple H said in a tweet. “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.”



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