Sports

Sarasota resident and WWE legend ‘Mean Gene’ Okerlund passes away

The iconic “Mean” Gene Okerlund interviews actor and comedian Kevin Hart who channels the spirit of the legendary “Macho Man” Randy Savage (with some Hulk Hogan and Koko B. Ware influences) during a “Give Your Head a MTN DEW KICKSTART” commercial campaign.
The iconic “Mean” Gene Okerlund interviews actor and comedian Kevin Hart who channels the spirit of the legendary “Macho Man” Randy Savage (with some Hulk Hogan and Koko B. Ware influences) during a “Give Your Head a MTN DEW KICKSTART” commercial campaign. Photo Courtesy Mountain Dew

World Wrestling Entertainment legend Gene Okerlund passed away at the age of 76, the sports entertainment company announced Wednesday.

The WWE Hall of Fame broadcaster known as “Mean Gene” lived in Sarasota.

The cause of death is not known at this time, though TMZ Sports reported Okerlund had health problems that included two kidney transplants over the years.

Okerlund rose to fame early in his career with the American Wrestling Association, which was based in Minnesota, before jumping to what was then called the World Wrestling Federation in 1984. He stayed with the WWF/WWE under Vince McMahon until jumping to Ted Turner’s World Championship Wrestling in 1993. When WCW folded in 2001, Okerlund returned to WWF/WWE.

Okerlund had classic interviews with various wrestlers, including Andre The Giant, “Macho Man” Randy Savage — who was billed from Sarasota — and Hulk Hogan to name a few.

Many current and former WWE stars gave tributes to Okerlund and offered condolences via social media.

Okerlund is survived by his wife, Jeanne Okerlund, and their two children.

Sports reporter Jason has covered high school, college and pro sports since joining the Bradenton Herald in 2010. He’s won Florida Press Club awards for sports feature and column writing. He currently writes college and pro sports stories for the McClatchy East Region real-time team.


  Comments