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WWE's Howard Finkel passes away at 69 years old

Image: WWE

One of the most recognizable voices in wrestling history has passed away as WWE announced Thursday that Hall-of-Fame ring announcer Howard Finkel has died at 69 years old.

No cause was given for his death, but his health condition had worsened in recent years.

Finkel was WWE's first employee after being hired by Vince McMahon Sr. in 1975 for the then-WWWF. The voice of Madison Square Garden house shows, he eventually became the company's primary ring announcer until 2000 when Lillian Garcia and Tony Chimel took over on Raw and SmackDown, respectively. By the mid 2000s, he was taken off pay-per-views and did mainly voiceovers with occassional appearances throughout the years on various shows while remaining employed as a WWE historian.

Through the years, Finkel got involved in several in-ring angles including one with Harvey Wippleman that culminated in a tuxedo match on Raw and another where he lost to Garcia in a tuxedo/evening gown match, also on Raw.

He also came up with the name "WrestleMania."

He was inducted into the WWE Hal of Fame in 2009 and the Wrestling Observer Hall of Fame in 2018.