The voice of the WWE has died. Howard Finkel, a Hall of Fame ring announcer for more than three decades and the organization's first-ever employee, was 69 years old when he died of undisclosed causes.

The announcement was made by the WWE in a tweet sent Thursday morning (April 16). Almost immediately, wrestling legends like Hulk Hogan and Triple H reflected on what Finkel meant to them personally, and also to the sport. "The Fink" appeared at every WrestleMania between 1985 and 2016, setting a record. Often the athletes would say hearing him announce their name was a career highlight.

While it's not clear how Finkel died, photos and messages shared on social media indicate his health had deteriorated. "I lost my friend today," Tommy Dreamer tweeets with a photo of him and a wheelchair-bound Finkel.

While not an intimidating physical presence, Finkel's voice — particularly the way he held "new" in announcing a new world champion — echoed across arenas into living rooms. In a tweet, WWE Chief Brand Officer Stephanie McMahon shares how important Finkel was to the company.

"He will be missed, thank you for everything," she says in closing.

Hulk Hogan also eulogized Finkel on Twitter, saying, "Howard Finkle was on Team Hogan through the good and bad times, even when I was on the outs Howard would call on a consistent basis to tell me to always keep my head up."

However, this video response to Hogan's tweet better shows what Finkel did so well:

Finkel's death is the second death of one of the sports non-wrestling legends in two years. Host and interviewer "Mean" Gene Okerlund died in January 2019.

Howard Finkel 2014
Bryan Bedder, Getty Images

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