WWE Hall of Famer and legendary interviewer Gene Okerlund has died, World Wrestling Entertainment announced. He was 76.
"WWE is saddened to learn that WWE Hall of Famer Gene Okerlund, the most recognizable interviewer in sports-entertainment history, has passed," the organization said on its website.
Okerlund, named "Mean Gene" by wrestler Jesse “The Body” Ventura, rose to prominence by interviewing some of the greatest stars of the American Wrestling Association, including Ventura, Bobby “The Brain” Heenan and Hulk Hogan, according to the WWE. He got his start at Omaha radio station KOIL and later moved to Minneapolis, where he worked for a local TV station.
He focused on wrestling starting in 1970.
In 1984, Okerlund joined the WWE where he became a staple on national cable television with his interviews of the organization's biggest names in sports entertainment including Hogan, Randy “Macho Man” Savage and The Ultimate Warrior.
"In 2001, he returned to the WWE to call the Gimmick Battle Royal at WrestleMania 17 along with Bobby 'The Brain' Heenan and continued to appear on WWE television programming, including being a cast member on WWE Network’s Legends’ House," the WWE said.
Okerlund was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2006 by Hogan, who was among the professional wrestlers to pay tribute to Okerlund on Wednesday.
"Mean Gene I love you my brother," he tweeted.
Another wrestler, Triple H, born Paul Levesque, tweeted: "A voice and sound track to an entire era of our industry. "Mean Gene” was beloved by all who got to work with him. Our thoughts are with his family at this difficult time."