WWE Hall of Famer Howard Finkel has died at the age of 69.
The iconic ring announcer made his debut for the WWWF in 1977 and became its first full-time ring announcer in 1979. When the WWF was established in 1980, Finkel was its first -- and longest-serving -- employee.
His voice was heard time and time again on WWE broadcasts and pay-per-views until the 2000s -- punctuating title changes with his signature "and nnnnnnnew ..."
Saddened to learn of the passing of my friend and WWE's first employee, WWE Hall of Famer Howard Finkel. The grandest moments in sports-entertainment history were made all the grander thanks to Howard's iconic voice. pic.twitter.com/aAMY2XaHsm— Vince McMahon (@VinceMcMahon) April 16, 2020
You weren't someone until you heard Howard announce you. A championship win didn't feel real until you heard him say "and the new!" His voice, his personality, and his positivity will be sorely missed. Thank you for everything...especially your friendship. https://t.co/CYSPt6vnvU— Triple H (@TripleH) April 16, 2020
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,it was" never say never" and "you and Vince will work it out",my good friend RIP,I love you 4LifeHH— Hulk Hogan (@HulkHogan) April 16, 2020
Finkel appeared at every WrestleMania from 1985 to 2016, which was the other well-known WrestleMania streak besides that of The Undertaker. Finkel transitioned into a backstage role once he was off-camera.
There was no cause of death provided by WWE.
He was not only a voice in the ring, but he also participated in gimmick matches from time to time, none more memorable than when he faced his "rival" Harvey Wippleman in a Tuxedo Match in 1995. Finkel won the match by keeping on his bow tie and cummerbund.
Finkel was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2009.