Stern Sidekick Hank, the Dwarf, Dies

09/05/2001 at 08:18 AM EDT

Shock jock Howard Stern's cantankerous, height-impaired sidekick, Hank the Angry, Drunken Dwarf, has died, according to a message posted by his manager, Doug Goodstein, on Hank's official Web site. He was 39 and his passing apparently occurred sometime early Tuesday. (Hank's mother phoned Goodstein with the news that day at 1 p.m. ET, said the Web site.) "At this point it is not known what caused Hank's death," Goodstein writes, "but it would not be surprising to eventually learn it was from his years of alcohol abuse." Goodstein, who had managed the 4-foot-1 Hank -- born Henry Nasiff -- for the past three years, added, "Those who only knew Hank from his 'Howard Stern Show' appearances got the impression he was always angry and belligerent, but in reality Hank was a relatively soft-spoken polite guy who quite often had a big smile on his face." When it came to making personal appearances, said Goodstein, "Hank was diligent in finding out every fine detail about his appearances and treated them with the utmost professionalism." Since 1996, Hank, who reputedly got his show business start in Boston dinner theater, had become a recurring member of Stern's radio "Wack Pack." In 1998, Stern masterminded a write-in campaign to name Hank PEOPLE.com's Most Beautiful Person of the Year. So ardent were the Hank loyalists that the PEOPLE.com server crashed more than once as they cast their votes. Sure enough, Hank won by a landslide, besting Brad Pitt, George Clooney and other, more obvious candidates.

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