“Mean” Gene Okerlund, the iconic WWE backstage interviewer who played a role in some of the biggest moments in pro wrestling history, died on Wednesday. He was 76 years old.
Okerlund’s son, Todd Okerlund, told The Associated Press that his father died early Wednesday at a hospital in Sarasota, Florida, near his home in Osprey, Florida, with his wife, Jeanne, by his side.
Todd said his father, who had undergone three kidney transplants, fell a few weeks ago “and it just kind of went from bad to worse.”
Todd also told the Star Tribune in Minnesota that his father died at 5:30 a.m. in an emergency room. In addition to three kidney transplants, Okerlund had “a lot of different issues” leading to his death from natural causes.
His death wasn’t unexpected by some people in WWE as the company was working on a project on him beforehand. Seth Rollins revealed on Twitter that he did an interview last week talking about his legacy.
Up until his death, Okerlund hosted WWE Vintage, an international program which showcases archive footage from the extensive WWE video library. He co-hosted the program with Charly Caruso, and their latest show aired a few days ago (likely filmed a few weeks ago, if not months). Here is a clip.
Caruso took to Instagram to remember Okerlund.