WWE announcer, South Dakota native 'Mean' Gene Okerlund dead at 76

Gene Okerlund/MGN

(KSFY) - A legendary voice in wrestling with ties to South Dakota has passed away.

"Mean" Gene Okerlund passed away on Wednesday at the age of 76.

Okerlund was a long-time announcer for World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. (WWE). The organization announced his death on Wednesday morning.

Okerlund is a native of Sisseton, where he was a member of the band "Gene Carroll and The Shades." The band was inducted into the South Dakota Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2009.

According to the WWE, Okerlund got his start in wrestling by interviewing stars of the AWA. He joined the WWE in 1984, where he rose to fame as the organization grew in popularity in the '80s.

The cause of Okerlund's death has not been released.