Gene Okerlund

Longtime beloved WWE personality “Mean” Gene Okerlund has gone to the Big Ring in the Sky at age 76.

WWE Hall of Famer and longtime professional wrestling interviewer, “Mean” Gene Okerlund, has died at age 76. WWE announced the news on Twitter.

No cause of death was given, but Okerlund had dealt with health problems in the past.

He had his first kidney transplant in 1995 and another in 2004.

Pro wrestling fans will remember him best as a backstage interviewer, with multiple notable segments involving Hulk Hogan, the Iron Sheik, Bobby “The Brain” Heenan and many more.

Okerlund was born in Sisseton, South Dakota and got his start in wrestling as part of Vern Gagne’s American Wrestling Association (AWA) in 1970. He worked there as a ring announcer and interviewer until 1983, when he joined Vince McMahon’s World Wrestling Federation (WWF), which later became WWE as we know it today.

Okerlund also worked with WWF’s chief rival World Championship Wrestling (WCW) from 1993 until 2001 before returning to WWE again.

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Most recently, he was used by the company on a part-time basis, primarily on WWE Network programming. He appeared in several docuseries, while also narrating more casual programs like WWE Story Time. In 2014, Okerlund appeared with several other wrestling legends including “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan and Tony Atlas on Legends House.

One thing is certain. As much as the pro wrestling business has evolved since the days of Hogan, nobody holds a candle to Mean Gene Okerlund. He will be missed by millions.

Elite Sports NY sends its best wishes to the Okerlund family.

Josh Benjamin has been a staff writer at ESNY since 2018. He has had opinions about everything, especially the Yankees and Knicks. He co-hosts the “Bleacher Creatures” podcast and is always looking for new pieces of sports history to uncover, usually with a Yankee Tavern chicken parm sub in hand.