WWE commentator and interview “Mean” Gene Okerlund’s cause of death was the result of a fall he suffered in December, his son said.
Todd Okerlund told TMZ that he was in poor health before his fall. In the spill, he broke several ribs and was treated at a hospital in Sarasota, Florida.
The fall “triggered a rapid decline” in the elder Okerlund’s health, TMZ reported, citing his son. Just four days before his death, Okerlund was sent to a nursing home, the report said.
“He began to have trouble breathing and was rushed to a hospital on Wednesday where he ultimately passed away with his wife, Jeanne, by his side,” the website said.
Todd Okerlund said his family was touched by the outpouring of support following his death.
“He really was the ultimate, the consummate entertainer,” his son, Tor Okerlund, told The Associated Press on Jan. 3. He said after the fall, his health “just kind of went from bad to worse.”
WWE chief Vince McMahon issued a statement following Okerlund’s passing.
It was impossible not to crack a smile whenever “Mean” Gene Okerlund entered a room. He was the voice behind so many of WWE’s most iconic and entertaining moments, and the WWE family will miss him immensely. pic.twitter.com/zbrkQAvtug
— Vince McMahon (@VinceMcMahon) January 3, 2019
“It was impossible not to crack a smile whenever ‘Mean’ Gene Okerlund entered a room. He was the voice behind so many of WWE’s most iconic and entertaining moments, and the WWE family will miss him immensely,” he said on Twitter.
On Jan 2., the WWE announced his death on its website.
Okerlund “first came to prominence as an interviewer in the American Wrestling Association,” said the WWE in a statement.
According to the WWE statement, “In 1984, Okerlund made the move to WWE where he became as recognizable as the Superstars he asked the tough questions to, 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!'”
“Okerlund returned to WWE in 2001 to call the Gimmick Battle Royal at WrestleMania 17 along with Bobby ‘The Brain’ Heenan and continued to appear on WWE television programming, including as a cast member on WWE Network’s Legends’ House. WWE extends its condolences to Okerlund’s family, friends and fans,” the statement said.
Other wrestlers and some people associated with the WWE offered their condolences to his family.
“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,” wrestler Triple H wrote on Twitter.
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
Charles Robinson, a WWE referee, wrote: “So sad to hear of the passing of one of the greatest voices in wrestling. Mean Gene you will be missed and we will continue to love you. What a true class act. I am very fortunate to work with you.”
Bully Ray said, “RIP ‘Mean’ Gene. Thanks for the memories and being a Gentleman. God Bless.”
Added Big E: “Mean Gene was the voice of millions of childhoods. Mine certainly. An honor to meet him. Condolences to his family.”
“The voice of my youth. Condolences to his friends and family,” Mustafa Ali said.