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WWE Hall of Fame ring announcer Howard Finkel dies at 69

Howard Finkel attends the WWE screening of “Legends’ House” at Smith & Wollensky on April 15, 2014 in New York City.
Longtime WWE ring announcer Howard Finkel has died at age 69.
(Bryan Bedder / Getty Images)

Longtime WWE ring announcer Howard Finkel has died at 69, the organization announced in a statement Thursday.

No cause of death was mentioned. Finkel had reportedly been dealing with health issues in recent years.

“WWE extends its condolences to Finkel’s family, friends and fans,” the organization said in its statement.

Finkel made his ring announcing debut in 1977 at Madison Square Garden for WWE’s predecessor, the WWWF. In 1980, he was the first hire for Titan Sports, which eventually became World Wrestling Entertainment. For more than two decades, “The Fink” was a mainstay in the ring, with his distinctive voice and signature phrase “and NNNEEEWWW world champion!”

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Finkel also was an in-ring participant in the competition at times, including a Tuxedo Match against longtime rival Harvey Wippleman in 1995.

He was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2004.

His appearances became less frequent in recent years but Finkel remained “an indispensable resource” within the the organization, the WWE said in its statement.

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“Well respected by current Superstars, WWE Legends and Hall of Famers, Finkel’s encyclopedic memory and kindness made him beloved among his colleagues,” the company stated.

The wrestling community reacted to the news Thursday on social media.

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