The world of professional wrestling is mourning a legendary loss: “Mean” Gene Okerlund died at the age of 76, WWE confirmed on Wednesday. Okerlund was dubbed "the most recognizable interviewed in sports-entertainment history" by the organization.
Okerlund first hit the airwaves in Omaha, Nebraska, as a radio DJ for KOIL before focusing solely on professional wrestling commentary in 1970, according to TMZ. His rise to fame came in the early 1980s when he officially took a gig with WWE, interviewing some of the top wrestlers in the industry, including Jesse "The Body" Ventura, Bobby "The Brain" Heenan and — of course — Hulk Hogan, who inducted him into the WWE Hall of Fame roughly two decades later.
Hogan, who famously participated in a tag team match with Okerlund in 1984, mourned the loss of his ringside pal Wednesday morning.
"Mean Gene I love you my brother HH," Hogan tweeted.
Other wrestlers followed suit, noting Okerlund's voice will live on in their fond memories of the sport.
Paul Michael Levesque, better known as "Triple H," recalled Okerlund's presence during some of wrestling's most iconic moments.
"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," the wrestler wrote.
"Stone Cold" Steve Austin was also devastated to learn about Okerlund's death.
"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," he tweeted.
Thaddeus Michael Bullard Sr., referred to in the wrestling community as "Titus O'Neil," said it was a privilege to know Okerlund — and not just because of his professional reputation.
"One of the CLASSIEST Men I’ve Ever had the opportunity to meet and know. Always told me how proud he was to have me in the wrestling business and appreciated what I stand for. Yes I like many others Was a Huge Fan Of His 'Work' But I was more Honored to see His WORTH to Everyone," he added.
WWE's "Florida Man" called Okerlund the "voice of millions of childhoods," including his own.
"An honor to meet him. Condolences to his family," he added.
Mercedes Kaestner-Varnado, known as "Sasha Banks" by fans, called Okerlund a "legend."
Fellow ring announcer and TV host Cathy Kelley shared a throwback photo of Okerlund.
Vickie Guerrero, a professional wrestling personality, thanked Okerlund for years of unforgettable friendship.
"I’m so heart broken to hear of the passing of Mean Gene!! Thank you Gene for the laughs, advice, and most of a wonderful friendship! #wwe. #legend. #friend," she said.
Here's a handful of other tributes from WWE stars who knew Okerlund.