WWE Hall of Famer “Mean” Gene Okerlund, who interviewed wrestling icons for years, has passed away.
He was 76.
WWE confirmed Gene’s passing and paid tribute to him in a statement on their official website:
“Mean Gene”, as he was named by fellow Minnesotan, Jesse “The Body” Ventura, first came to prominence as an interviewer in the American Wrestling Association. In 1984, Okerlund made the move to WWE where he became as recognizable as the Superstars he asked the tough questions too, including “Macho Man” Randy Savage, The Ultimate Warrior and, perhaps Okerlund’s greatest guest, Hulk Hogan. Countless Hulkster interviews included the indelible phrase, “Well you know something ‘Mean’ Gene!”
As the respected and reliable man behind the microphone in WWE, Okerlund branched out from interviewing and provided ringside commentary and hosted several shows, including All-American Wrestling, Tuesday Night Titans, Wrestling Challenge and Prime Time Wrestling.
Hulk Hogan, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Triple H, Ted DiBiase, and The Iron Sheik were among the many wrestling stars and fans who took to social media to pay tribute to “Mean” Gene:
Mean Gene I love you my brother HH
— Hulk Hogan (@HulkHogan) January 2, 2019
Just heard Mean Gene Okerlund has passed away. 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.
— Steve Austin (@steveaustinBSR) January 2, 2019
A voice and sound track to an entire era of our industry. 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. https://t.co/9ddj6372eE
— Triple H (@TripleH) January 2, 2019
WWE universe has lost one of its greatest announcers and truly one of the nicest guys you’d ever know. “Mean” Gene Okerlund, RIP my friend pic.twitter.com/u3bS6pePmY
— Ted DiBiase (@MDMTedDiBiase) January 2, 2019
— The Iron Sheik (@the_ironsheik) January 2, 2019
My sincerest condolences to the Okerlund family and all who loved “Mean” Gene.
Rest in peace.