2019 was a tough year, and it seems even harder when you consider the celebrities we have lost in the last 12 months.
From legendary actors like Doris Day and Carol Channing to young musicians who had so much left to give like Nipsey Hussle and Juice WRLD, there was a lot of sadness to go around.
Here, in no particular order, are some of the beloved celebrities we lost in 2019.
Marie Fredriksson, the much-beloved Swedish singer-songwriter, died in December at age 61.
Fredriksson was best known as the lead vocalist, keyboardist and co-founder of pop-rock duo Roxette, which became a world-renowned musical act in the 1980s thanks to its synth-heavy smash hits, including Listen to Your Heart, The Look and Joyride.
Throughout her life and career, Fredriksson also released music with a number of punk and rock bands before kicking off her own highly successful solo career. Her eighth and final solo album, Nu!, dropped in 2013.
Bravo died suddenly in Mexico City after being hospitalized with stomach pains while visiting family.
His cause of death is unclear, but reports said that Bravo’s family had a service for him on Dec. 15 in Mexico, where he was cremated.
“Surrounded by friends and loving family until the end, all were reminded of John’s rich legacy,” the band said in a message posted to its Facebook page.
“He was a potent force in music, acting — onstage, in movies and on television, and was world renowned as a songwriter. As well, he was a foresightful activist and charitable figure for several worthwhile organizations.
“His work will resound long after his untimely passing.”
Mann left behind his wife, Jill Daum, and two children, Harlan and Hattie.
Doris Day, the honey-voiced singer and actor whose film dramas, musicals and innocent sex comedies made her a top star in the 1950s and ’60s and put her among the most popular screen actresses in history died at 97 in May.
The Doris Day Animal Foundation confirmed Day died at her Carmel Valley, Calif., home. The foundation said she was surrounded by close friends.
“Day had been in excellent physical health for her age, until recently contracting a serious case of pneumonia, resulting in her death,” the foundation said in an emailed statement.
With her lilting contralto, wholesome blonde beauty and glowing smile, she was a top box office draw and recording artist known for such films as Pillow Talk and That Touch of Mink and for such songs as Whatever Will Be, Will Be (Que Sera, Sera) from the Alfred Hitchcock film The Man Who Knew Too Much.
Aiello’s literary agent, Jennifer De Chiara, confirmed the actor died after a brief illness.
The actor played Sal Frangione, a pizzeria owner in a black neighbourhood of Brooklyn, in Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing.
Rene Auberjonois, a prolific actor best known for his roles on TV shows Benson and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and his part in the 1970 film M.A.S.H. playing Father Mulcahy, died at 79 in early December.
The actor died at his home in Los Angeles of metastatic lung cancer, his son Remy Auberjonois confirmed to the press.
The 21-year-old rapper’s cause of death remains inconclusive following an autopsy.
The Cook County medical examiner’s office announced in a statement on Dec. 9 that additional studies are required to establish the cause and manner of his death.
Cardiac pathology, neuropathology, toxicology and histology testing still need to be done to determine the cause of death, according to the medical examiner’s office.
Juice WRLD, known for his single Lucid Dreams, which features Sting’s 1993 hit Shape of My Heart, died early on Dec. 8 after a “medical emergency” at Chicago’s Midway International Airport.
He was pronounced dead at a hospital around 3:15 a.m. and taken to the medical examiner’s office several hours later, according to spokeswoman Natalia Derevyanny.
Police said there were no signs of foul play and that those who were aboard an aircraft with the rapper at the time were co-operating with authorities.
During a search in a private hangar, a drug-sniffing dog made a “positive alert” on luggage carts that were loaded with bags from the plane, Chicago police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said.
Inside, they found multiple bags of suspected marijuana, several bottles of prescription cough syrup, three guns, metal-piercing bullets and a high-capacity ammunition magazine, he said.
Juice WRLD went into convulsions during the search, and one of the agents administered Narcan after the rapper’s girlfriend said he had been taking Percocet, Guglielmi said.
Caroll Spinney, who gave Big Bird his warmth and Oscar the Grouch his growl for nearly 50 years on Sesame Street, died in early December at the age of 85 at his home in Connecticut.
The Sesame Workshop said in a statement that the legendary puppeteer lived for some time with dystonia, which causes involuntary muscle contractions.
Spinney voiced and operated the two major Muppets from their inception in 1969, when he was 36, and performed them almost exclusively into his 80s on the PBS kids’ television show that later moved to HBO.
“Before I came to Sesame Street, I didn’t feel like what I was doing was very important,” Spinney said when he announced his retirement in 2018. “Big Bird helped me find my purpose.”
Rudy Boesch, a retired Navy SEAL and fan favourite on the inaugural season of Survivor, died after a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease. He was 91.
Boesch died peacefully in early November in hospice care in Virginia Beach, Va., surrounded by loved ones, according to Steve Gonzalez, director of operations for the SEAL Veterans Foundation.
“He was a legend in the SEAL teams long before Survivor,” Gonzalez said. “Rudy was beloved by all and will be deeply missed.”
Survivor host Jeff Probst said the show “has lost a legend.”
“He is one of the most iconic and adored players of all time. And he served our country as a 45-year Navy SEAL,” Probst wrote. “Rudy is a true American hero.”
Actor and comedian John Witherspoon, known for his roles in Friday and the sitcom The Wayans Bros., died at his home on Oct. 20. He was 77.
The Wayans Bros. actor died of a heart attack, according to his death certificate.
“It is with deepest sorrow that we can confirm our beloved husband and father, John Witherspoon, one of the hardest-working men in show business, died today at his home in Sherman Oaks at the age of 77,” the family spokesperson said in a statement at the time of his death.
“He is survived by his wife Angela, and his sons JD, Alexander, and a large family. We are all in shock, please give us a minute for a moment in privacy and we will celebrate his life and his work together. John used to say ‘I’m no big deal,’ but he was huge deal to us.”
READ MORE: 7 of the biggest celebrity feuds of 2019
Keith Flint, the British musician who sang the vocals for The Prodigy’s hits such as Firestarter and Breathe, died at age 49 in March.
Flint became one of the best-known faces of 1990s British electronic music, performing apparently random dance moves, often with eccentric haircuts.
The cause of death was ruled a hanging after a post-mortem exam. Toxicology reports also found that the singer had alcohol, cocaine and codeine in his system.
Senior coroner Caroline Beasley-Murray rendered the death an open verdict as Flint’s intent and state of mind were unclear. There wasn’t enough evidence at the scene to determine whether it was an accident or a voluntary act of suicide.
Carol Channing, the lanky, ebullient musical comedy star who delighted American audiences over almost 5,000 performances as the scheming Dolly Levi in Hello, Dolly on Broadway and beyond died at 97 in January.
Publicist B. Harlan Boll said Channing died of natural causes in Rancho Mirage, Calif. Boll says she had twice suffered strokes in the last year.
Besides Hello, Dolly, Channing starred in other Broadway shows, but none with equal magnetism. She often appeared on television and in nightclubs, for a time partnering with George Burns in Las Vegas and on a national tour.
Her outsized personality seemed too much for the screen, and she made only a few movies, notably The First Traveling Saleslady with Ginger Rogers and Thoroughly Modern Millie with Julie Andrews.
Robert Forster, the handsome and omnipresent character actor who got a career resurgence and Oscar nomination for playing bail bondsman Max Cherry in Jackie Brown, died in October at age 78.
Publicist Kathie Berlin said Forster died of brain cancer following a brief illness. He was at home in Los Angeles, surrounded by family, when he died.
Even in his down days, Forster always considered himself lucky.
“You learn to take whatever jobs there are and make the best you can out of whatever you’ve got. And anyone in any walk of life, if they can figure that out, has a lot better finish than those who cannot stand to take a picture that doesn’t pay you as much or isn’t as good as the last one,” he told IndieWire in 2011. “Attitude is everything.”
Katherine Helmond, best known as the man-crazy mother Mona on ’80s sitcom Who’s the Boss? and the socialite sister Jessica Tate on TV comedy Soap, died at the age of 89 in February.
Helmond was a seven-time Emmy nominee and, aside from Who’s the Boss and Soap, starred on Everybody Loves Raymond as Lois Whelan, on Coach as the widowed owner of an NFL team and most recently on vampire drama True Blood as Caroline Bellefleur.
She won two Golden Globes, both for Best Supporting Actress. She won for Soap in 1981 and for Who’s the Boss in 1989.
Helmond wasn’t only a star on TV; she appeared in many movies as well, including three Terry Gilliam films — 1981’s Time Bandits, 1985’s Brazil and 1998’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.
Karen Pendleton, American actor and one of the original Mouseketeers, died in early October at the age of 73.
The entertainer was best known for her time on the original Mickey Mouse Club TV show between 1955 and 1959. She was one of only nine children who starred in the original show during its entire run.
Pendleton was one of the youngest members of the Mouseketeers and was often paired with co-star Cubby O’Brien at the end of each episode, when they would perform Alma Mater, the Mickey Mouse Club goodbye theme.
The child star died of a heart attack in Fresno, Calif.
Diahann Carroll, the Oscar-nominated actress and singer who won critical acclaim as the first black woman to star in a non-servant role in the TV series Julia, died in October at age 84.
Carroll’s daughter, Susan Kay, told the Associated Press her mother died in Los Angeles of cancer. During her long career, Carroll earned a Tony Award for the musical No Strings and an Academy Award nomination for Claudine.
But she was perhaps best known for her pioneering work on Julia. Carroll played Julia Baker, a nurse whose husband had been killed in Vietnam in the groundbreaking situation comedy that aired from 1968 to 1971.
Although she was not the first black woman to star in her own TV show (Ethel Waters played a maid in the 1950s series Beulah), she was the first to star as someone other than a servant.
Television celebrity chef and restaurateur Carl Ruiz died of a heart attack on Sept. 21. He was 44.
Ruiz’s New York City restaurant, La Cubana, confirmed his death in an Instagram post.
“On behalf of the La Cubana family, with heavy hearts, we are deeply saddened to share the passing of our beloved Executive Chef Carl Ruiz,” the post began.
“No words can fully express our sadness at the sudden loss of our dear friend and brother. Beyond his immense culinary talent, Carl’s larger-than-life personality never failed to entertain, enlighten, and uplift every person he encountered along his #Ruizing adventures,” the post continued. “His fierce intellect and infectious humour knew no bounds.”
“He was a mighty force of down home [sic] Cuban cuisine, and lived life to the fullest, just as he cooked — with ‘dancing always’ as the most important ingredient,” the post said.
Cameron Boyce, best known for his role as the teenage son of Cruella de Vil in the Disney Channel franchise Descendants, died unexpectedly from epilepsy on July 6 at his home in Los Angeles. He was 20.
Boyce’s family released a statement saying he “passed away in his sleep due to a seizure that was a result of an ongoing medical condition for which he was being treated.”
“The world is now undoubtedly without one of its brightest lights, but his spirit will live on through the kindness and compassion of all who knew and loved him. We are utterly heartbroken and ask for privacy during this immensely difficult time as we grieve the loss of our precious son and brother,” the family statement said.
Rip Torn, the free-spirited Texan who overcame his quirky name to become a distinguished actor in theatre, television and movies and win an Emmy in his 60s for his comedy turn on TV’s The Larry Sanders Show, died in July at 88.
Torn died at his home with his wife, Amy Wright, and daughters Katie Torn and Angelica Page by his side, according to his publicist Rick Miramontez. No cause of death was given.
His career on stage and screen spanned seven decades, ranging from an early career of dark, threatening roles to iconic comedic performances later in life.
After acclaimed performances in Cross Creek, Sweet Bird of Youth and other dramas, Torn turned to comedy to capture his Emmy as the bombastic, ethically challenged television producer in The Larry Sanders Show. Created by and starring Garry Shandling, HBO’s spoof of TV talk shows aired from 1992 to 1998 and is widely credited with inspiring such satirical programs as 30 Rock and Curb Your Enthusiasm.
Born Elmore Rual Torn, the actor adopted the name Rip in his boyhood, following the tradition of his father and uncle.
Comedian Chris Cotton, best known for his Comedy Central online talk show Every Damn Day, died on Dec. 12 from unknown causes. He was 32.
Comedy Central confirmed Cotton’s death in a tweet.
“We’re devastated by the loss of Chris Cotton — a hilarious comedian, a beloved member of the Comedy Central family and a joy to be around,” the network said. “He will be missed.”
In September, Cotton’s wife, Ericalynn Cotton, announced they were expecting their first child in February 2020.
A GoFundMe has been set up in the late comedian’s honour for his family and has almost reached its goal of $50,000.
Spokesman Jeff Ballard said McKeon died after a long illness. He added that further details on McKeon’s death were being withheld at his family’s request.
“We are all beyond heartbroken and devastated over Phil’s passing,” said Ballard. “His wonderful sense of humour, kindness and loyalty will be remembered by all who crossed his path in life.”
McKeon acted in the role of Tommy Hyatt in Alice from 1976 to 1985. His most recent acting role was in the film Ghoulies IV, which was released in 1994.
Jack Burns, the Scottish child actor and ballet dancer, died on Dec. 1. He was 14.
Burns was best known for his roles in the TV series, One of Us and In Plain Sight.
In 2012, Burns joined the Elite Academy of Dance, which is a classical ballet college in his hometown of Greenock, Scotland. He dedicated much of his time to dancing with the institute and was often referred to as “the next Billy Elliot,” according to Metro U.K.
The Elite Academy of Dance confirmed the boy’s death in a Facebook post. Though the cause of death was not revealed, he was reportedly found dead in his home.
Morrison died at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles from heart failure after a brief illness, according to publicist Lori DeWaal.
Morrison played Rosario Inés Consuelo Yolanda Salazar, a maid from El Salvador, in the original run of Will & Grace from 1999 to 2006, becoming part of a cast that won a Screen Actors Guild award for best ensemble in a comedy series.
“Rosario is one of my all-time favourite characters,” Morrison said recently, according to a statement and biography announcing her death.
“She reminds me a lot of my own mother, who loved animals and children, but she would not suffer fools. It is very significant to me that we were able to show an older, Hispanic woman who is bright and smart and can hold her own.”
Gao was filming a sports reality show titled Chase Me in Ningbo when he died. He was 35.
Producers of the Zhejiang Television show said Gao “suddenly fell down to the ground while running; medical staff treated him on the spot.”
According to Zhejiang Television’s statement, the Vancouver-raised actor was rushed to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
“The on-site medical staff started treatment immediately and transported him to a hospital,” the statement said. “Unfortunately, after two hours of rescue treatment, the hospital pronounced him dead of sudden cardiac arrest.”
The New York Police Department said officers responded to Tarantina’s apartment on West 51st Street shortly before 1 a.m.
Tarantina was found on his couch, fully clothed but unconscious and unresponsive. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
The death of the Gilmore Girls actor was caused by an accidental drug overdose, the medical examiner’s office in New York said.
Horror movie star Sid Haig died on Sept. 21. He was 80.
The House of 1,000 Corpses actor had a fall several weeks before and suffered serious breathing complications after arriving at the hospital. He died of a lung infection, according to Variety.
Haig’s wife, Susan L. Oberg, announced the news on Instagram.
“On Saturday, Sept. 21, 2019, my light, my heart, my true love, my king, the other half of my soul, Sidney, passed from this realm on to the next,” she wrote.
“He has returned to the universe, a shining star in her heavens. He was my angel, my husband, my best friend and always will be. He adored his family, his friends and his fans. This came as a shock to all of us.”
His publicist, Cindy Ronzoni, provided a statement from the family saying he died peacefully in Los Angeles. He was 70.
The husky-voiced, blue-collar performer was known for such hits as Two Tickets to Paradise and Take Me Home Tonight. In 1987, he received a best rock vocal Grammy nomination for Take Me Home Tonight, which featured a cameo from Ronnie Spector.
Country singer Kylie Rae Harris died on Sept. 4 in a three-vehicle car crash in Taos, N.M. She was 30.
Another driver of one of the three cars was a 16-year-old girl, who was also killed. The third driver involved escaped injury, according to the Associated Press.
Harris’ publicist released a statement to Billboard about the singer’s passing.
“We are heartbroken to confirm that Kylie Rae Harris passed away in a car accident last night,” Harris’ publicist told the outlet. “We have no further details to share and ask for privacy for her family at this time. Everyone that knew Kylie knew how much she loved her family and, beyond that, how much she loved music. The best tribute to her unmatched enthusiasm for both is to spread as much love as you can today, and listen to music that fully inspires you.”
Local authorities showed up at the scene shortly after 2 a.m. ET on Aug. 31. The Season 11 contender was pronounced dead at the scene.
“It would appear initially that she failed to negotiate a sharp turn and crashed,” said a statement provided to Variety by the Millinocket Police Department.
Celebrated novelist Toni Morrison died in early August at the age of 88, according to her publisher and the Associated Press. Publisher Alfred A. Knopf said Morrison died at Montefiore Medical Center in New York.
She was the first black woman to receive the Nobel literature prize, which she was awarded in 1993. The Swedish academy hailed her use of language and her “visionary force.”
Her novel Beloved, in which a mother makes a tragic choice to murder her baby to save the girl from slavery, won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1988.
Morrison helped raise American multiculturalism to the world stage and uncensor her country’s past, unearthing the lives of the unknown and the unwanted, those she would call “the unfree at the heart of the democratic experiment.”
In her novels, history — black history — was a trove of poetry, tragedy, love, adventure and good old gossip, whether in small-town Ohio in Sula or big-city Harlem in Jazz. She regarded race as a social construct and, through language, founded the better world her characters suffered to attain. Morrison wove everything from African literature and slave folklore to the Bible and Gabriel Garcia Marquez into the most diverse, yet harmonious, of literary communities.
“Narrative has never been merely entertainment for me,” she said in her Nobel lecture. “It is, I believe, one of the principal ways in which we absorb knowledge.”
Her husband Duane (Dog) Chapman confirmed the news on Twitter, writing: “It’s 5:32 in Hawaii, this is the time she would wake up to go hike Koko Head mountain. Only today, she hiked the stairway to heaven.”
“We all love you, Beth. See you on the other side,” he tweeted.
Beth, who was battling cancer, was hospitalized in April. Her husband shared a statement on Facebook letting fans know that she was hospitalized “due to an accumulation of fluid in her lungs.”
The mother of four and her husband were the stars on the A&E reality series Dog the Bounty Hunter, which shared the adventures of their family-owned bounty-hunting business. The show aired from 2004 to 2012.
The couple took to Facebook in September 2017 to confirm a report that Beth had been diagnosed with Stage 2 throat cancer.
In November 2017, the couple revealed during the A&E special Dog & Beth: Fight of Their Lives that the cancer had been removed, but her family’s lawyer announced in November that her cancer had returned and that she had had another surgery.
In December, Duane confirmed to Us Weekly that Beth’s cancer had spread throughout her throat and lungs and was “incurable.”
The family’s lawyer said Beth had begun undergoing chemotherapy in Los Angeles in January.
Wright’s son Ben confirmed the news of his father’s passing to the Hollywood Reporter but did not provide any details.
Wright made his Broadway debut in 1968 in The Great White Hope, and he received a Tony nomination for Best Actor in a Play in 1998 for his role as Pavel Lebedev, chairman of the local council, in Ivanov.
Rapper Nipsey Hussle was shot and killed outside his Los Angeles clothing store on March 31. He had planned to meet with Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) officials the following day to discuss ways to help fight against gang violence in Los Angeles.
The slain 33-year-old was a long-respected rapper who had just broken through with a Grammy-nominated album, Victory Lap, before he was fatally shot.
A grand jury on May 9 returned an indictment charging Eric Holder, 29, with murder, attempted murder and other felonies. He has pleaded not guilty.
Hussle, whose real name is Ermias Asghedom, was born on Aug. 15, 1985, in the Crenshaw neighbourhood of South Los Angeles.
The rapper was engaged to actress Lauren London. The actress and rapper were in a five-year relationship.
The couple share a young son named Kross, who was born in 2016. Hussle’s daughter, Emani, is from a previous relationship and London’s nine-year-old son, Cameron Carter, is from her previous relationship with rapper Lil Wayne.
Rising country singer Justin Carter died on March 16 at the age of 35.
Carter died following an accidental shooting from a prop gun being used for a music video filmed in his Houston apartment.
Carter’s mother, Cindy McClellan, told Fox News that during filming, a gun in Carter’s pocket “went off and caught my son in the corner of his eye.”
“He was a wonderful artist,” McClellan added. “He was the voice, he was the total package, and we’re trying to keep his legend [alive].”
Professional wrestler King Kong Bundy died on March 4 at age 61.
Promoter and longtime friend David Herro posted on Facebook: “Today we lost a Legend and a man I consider family.”
The cause of death and other details were not disclosed.
World Wrestling Entertainment Inc. (WWE) released a statement following the news of Bundy’s passing.
“WWE is saddened to learn that WWE Legend King Kong Bundy has passed away,” the statement read.
“Bundy was appropriately called the ‘walking condominium,’ standing at an impressive six foot four inches and weighing 458 pounds. The sight of Bundy stepping between the ropes was intimidating enough, but his crushing offence proved that he was every bit as destructive as advertised. In fact, Bundy was so dominant that he demanded referees count to five when he pinned his opponents to show that there was no way they were getting up.”
“Actor Luke Perry, 52, passed away today after suffering a massive stroke,” a statement confirming his death read.
“He was surrounded by his children Jack and Sophie, fiancé Wendy Madison Bauer, ex-wife Minnie Sharp, mother Ann Bennett, stepfather Steve Bennett, brother Tom Perry, sister Amy Coder, and other close family and friends. The family appreciates the outpouring of support and prayers that have been extended to Luke from around the world and respectfully request privacy in this time of great mourning. No further details will be released at this time.”
Perry most recently starred in Riverdale, which halted production on the day the late actor died.
Perry played construction-company owner Fred Andrews, father of main character Archie Andrews, for three seasons on Riverdale.
Karl Lagerfeld, artistic director at Chanel and an icon of the global fashion industry for over half a century, died on Feb. 19. He was 85.
Lagerfeld died after being rushed to a hospital in Neuilly-sur-Seine just outside Paris the night before.
Kristoff St. John, a soap-opera actor who played character Neil Winters for 28 years on Young & the Restless, died in February at 52 years of age.
The Los Angeles Police Department responded to an “incident” in San Fernando Valley, Calif., and a person at the scene was pronounced dead.
St. John was recently engaged to model Kseniya Olegovna Mikhaleva, and the couple had planned a wedding for the fall.
St. John’s son, Julian (with ex-wife Mia St. John), died by suicide in 2014 at age 24. He had immense difficulty coming to terms with his son’s passing and underwent psychiatric treatment in 2017 after a reported mental health scare.
A spokesperson for the Los Angeles County medical examiner-coroner confirmed that St. John’s death at age 52 was an “accident.”
His cause of death is listed as hypertrophic heart disease, which the Mayo Clinic defines as a condition in which the “heart muscle becomes abnormally thick,” making it harder for the heart to pump blood.
Alcohol is listed as a “contributing factor” to his death.
Also known as Chef Fati, Ali was a beloved competitor on the show in 2017 for Season 15. Fellow chef Bruce Kalman, a close friend of hers, posted the sad news of her passing on Instagram.
“It’s with a heavy heart we say goodbye to Fatima Ali today, as she has lost her battle with cancer,” he wrote. “I will miss you Fati, and you will be in my heart forever. I’ll always remember the great times we had, especially our interview during the tailgating episode discussing football, stadiums and Taylor Swift.”
Ali suffered from Ewing’s sarcoma, which is a rare, terminal cancer that infiltrates the bones and soft tissue. She was diagnosed in late 2017 but announced she was in remission in February 2018.
In October of last year, Ali penned an essay about her cancer when she was told by doctors that it had returned; she was also told by medical professionals that she had only one year to live.
Comedian Kevin Barnett, co-creator of Rel, died while on vacation in Mexico on Jan. 22. He was 32.
His cause of death was revealed on Jan 24, following an autopsy. The Chief of the Forensic Medical Service told E! News that the 32-year-old comedian died from complications from pancreatitis.
“We can confirm the death of a U.S. citizen, Kevin Barnett, in Tijuana on Jan. 22,” a U.S. Department of State official said in a statement. “We offer our sincerest condolences to his family on their loss, and we stand ready to provide all appropriate consular assistance. Out of respect to the family during this difficult time, we have no further comment.
“The corresponding autopsy was carried out, which determined that the cause of death was: Non Traumatic Hemorrhage, caused by pancreatitis,” the statement read.
At the very beginning of 2019, World Wrestling Entertainment Inc. (WWE) confirmed the death of world-renowned interviewer “Mean” Gene Okerlund in an official statement. Okerlund died at the age of 76.
The legendary broadcaster was known and loved for almost five decades of service as “the most recognizable interviewer in sports-entertainment history.” Okerlund’s cause of death was eventually revealed by his son, who said that he died after injuries from a fall.
Among wrestling fans, Okerlund’s character was a fan favourite, not only because of his unique interviews and questioning tactics but also because of his dry humour, stone-cold reactions and, of course, the unforgettable segments he turned into comedic gold.
His final television appearance was on Jan. 22, 2018, for the WWE, during a 25th-anniversary episode of Raw, in which he interviewed wrestler AJ Styles.
— With files from the Associated Press
© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.