April 16 (UPI) -- Howard Finkel, a WWE Hall of Fame ring announcer, has died at the age of 69.
WWE made the announcement on Thursday. No cause of death was disclosed.
Finkel, who was also referred to as The Fink, made his ring announcing debut in 1977 for the then WWWF which later became WWE.
He became a full-time ring announcer by 1979 and was WWE's first employee when the company was established in 1980.
Finkel announced and introduced some of the biggest names in professional wrestling history including Bruno Sammartino, Bob Backlund, Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair, Bret Hart, The Rock, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Triple H, The Undertaker, Shawn Michaels, John Cena and many more.
Finkel was known for his signature way of announcing new champions by loudly proclaiming, "And the NEW World Champion!"
"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," Triple H said on Twitter.
Finkel was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2009.