If you were a longtime WWE viewer, then chances are you've probably heard Howard Finkel's voice. Born on June 7, 1950 in Newark, N.J. (represent!), the man with a voice I could only describe as a velvet-boom, had his first gig as a ring announcer in the location of all locations: Madison Square Garden. He continued his relationship with the legendary venue, becoming an official announcer for MSG Cablevision and USA Network. He passed away at 69 years old, but what was his cause of death?
Howard Finkel's cause of death could be linked to a 2018 stroke.
The longtime mic-man fell ill in 2018 after sustaining a stroke and unfortunately, he has been battling for his health ever since. His exact cause of death hasn't been recorded, but he had been fighting to return to 100 percent ever since the incident.
Howard was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2009, and continued to work events for the organization until 2016. During the final years of the announcer's life, he continued to work backstage events for the company.
Howard's first in-ring announcer appearance occurred in 1977, but he didn't start working with the WWE (then, WWF before animal rights activists had to go and ruin everything), until April 1, 1980. He eventually became the organization's main ring announcer under Vince McMahon Jr., when the WWF became a nationally broadcast professional wrestling show.
Throughout his career, he helped introduce some of the most recognizable names in pro-wrestling history.
Howard also appeared at every single Wrestlemania event from 1985 until 2016, and says out of all the spectacles he participated it, out of all his ring announcing gigs, a career-defining moment for him was when he announced at Wrestlemania III before some 93,000 fans. In a March 28, 2011 interview, Howard gushed about the experience and it was evident that it was still the pinnacle of his career that many decades later.
Fans of the late announcer began pouring their condolences all over social media. People shared their favorite Howard Finkel moments, which ranged from some light-hearted vignettes and personal stories, to absolutely epic moments in WWE history that just wouldn't have been the same without Howard's contributions.
Greg Hamilton, a current WWE ring announcer who's beloved in his own right, shared his own thoughts on Howard's passing.
Greg filled in for JoJo while she was working an event in Hawaii, and he had impressed higher-ups so much that he was eventually promoted to a full time announcer for the organization. There are tons of videos and little tidbits on the internet praising Greg for his worth ethic and larger than life personality.
Executives chimed in on Howard's passing as well, and even rival pro-wrestling organization, AEW, tweeted about the death of the ring announcer, offering up their condolences, as did the Iron Sheik, Jim Ross, Cathy Kelley, Booker T., and of course, Vince McMahon himself.
Howard's death hit especially hard, as he was the WWE's first official employee, check out some additional tributes below.