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Howard Finkel dead: WWE announcer dies at 69

Cast member Howard Finkel attends the WWE screening of 'Legends' House' at Smith & Wollensky on April 15, 2014 in New York City. Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for WWE

Howard Finkel, a World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) ring announcer and WWE Hall of Famer, has died. He was 69.

On Thursday, WWE announced that Finkel had passed away. The cause of death is currently not known.

Finkel, also known as “The Fink,” made his WWE debut in 1977 at Madison Square Garden when the entertainment company was known as the World Wide Wrestling Federation (WWWF).

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Finkel is known as WWE’s first full-time employee, and he was always dressed in a tuxedo.

WWE released a statement about Finkel’s death on its website, saying he was considered among “the greatest ring announcers in the history of sports and sports-entertainment.”

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“By 1979, Finkel was the full-time ring announcer for WWWF, and when WWE was established in 1980, The Fink became the first — and eventually longest-serving — employee. Finkel’s distinctive voice was instantly recognizable, and for more than two decades superstars such as The Ultimate Warrior, ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin and more would have a title victory marked by The Fink’s signature call, ‘and NNNEEEWWW World Champion!’” WWE said of Finkel.

Finkel also took part in some of the in-ring competition, according to WWE.

“Despite being a ring announcer, Finkel didn’t shy away from in-ring competition in certain circumstances. In 1995, he battled his longtime rival Harvey Wippleman in a Tuxedo Match on Raw, and later helped X-Pac shave Jeff Jarrett’s head in a Hair vs. Hair Match at SummerSlam 1998,” the company said.

WWE said that Finkel was also ” an indispensable resource inside the WWE offices for his vast knowledge of sports-entertainment history.”

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Many WWE superstars and fans took to social media to send their condolences once news of Finkel’s passing spread.

View this post on Instagram

I will miss this man. Howard Finkel was the voice @christian4peeps and I emulated when we performed our own ring introductions for our living room or side yard(depending on the weather) wrestling “shows”. I know there’s an entire generation of kids, now grizzled adults who did the same thing. He was “our voice”. When I debuted in the WWE and I heard Howard’s voice introduce Edge, I welled up. THAT’S when it became real that I’d made it. I will never forget the goosebumps I had the night on a house show at The Skydome when he said “and NEEEEEEWWWW Intercontinental Champion”. Our first tag title win at WrestleMania of all places. The voice? Howard. More importantly than all of that, he was my friend. He was a genuine, warm and compassionate man who absolutely LOVED his job. I remember standing with him nightly behind the curtain with a bunch of the boys firing him up as Welcome to the Jungle played for his ring intro music. This hurts. The Fink. The best. Ever.

A post shared by Adam “Edge” Copeland (@edgeratedr) on

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