WWE Hall of Famer 'Mean Gene' Okerlund Dead at 76

WWE Hall of Famer 'Mean Gene' Okerlund has passed away at the age of 76, the WWE announced on Wednesday. 

Okerlund became one of the preeminent voices of wrestling entertainment in the '80s and '90s thanks to his many interviews with wrestling's biggest superstars of the era including, Jesse "The Body" Ventura, "Macho Man" Randy Savage, and Hulk Hogan. 

His career spanned several wrestling organizations including the American Wrestling Association, World Championship Wrestling, and World Wrestling Entertainment. His backstage and in-ring interviews with wrestling's superstars were legendary in the business in his career that spanned more than three decades. 

Okerlund earned the "Mean Gene" nickname from Jesse "The Body" Ventura as an irony - since many of the wrestlers and promotion staff he worked with considered Okerlund the friendliest person in the business. 

Okerlund was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in a ceremony in 2006 by Hulk Hogan.

The WWE mourned Okerlund's passing with a statement Wednesday morning. 

"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," the WWE wrote on its website. 

Tributes for Okerlund began to pour in from wrestlers who had worked with him over the years after his death was announced. 

WWE's Executive Vice President Paul Levesque (who also goes by Triple H), wrote that Okerlund was the voice and sound track to an entire era of their 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," Levesque wrote on Twitter.