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    Howard Stern's Hank the Dwarf Dies

    Hank the Angry, Drunken Dwarf is dead.

    The 4-foot-1 Howard Stern sidekick, known for being, well, drunk and angry, died Tuesday at the age of 39. The cause of death was not immediately disclosed.

    As a tribute to his fallen buddy, Stern sang his own rendition of "Candle in the Wind" during his radio show Wednesday.

    Born Henry Nasiff, the diminutive performer got his break in 1996, when he and a friend from Boston dinner theater (yes, Hank was in dinner theater) drove to New York City and decided to try to get on the Stern show. Hank's vigil at New York's K-Rock studios began at about 5:30 a.m., and the Stern crew quickly took notice.

    TUNE-IN ALERT!
    · Howard Stern Show: Howard and E! revisit some of Hank's most memorable appearances.

    As Doug Z. Goodstein, Hank's manager and the producer of Stern's E! TV show, once recounted to E! Online, "There was just a compelling feature of a drunk, belligerent midget." (As Hank was fond of yelling, "I'm not a midget, I'm a dwarf, you a--hole.)"

    He soon become a recurring member of Stern's so-called "Wack Pack," joining the likes of Crackhead Bob and the Elephant Boy in Howard's pantheon of oddballs.

    Hank appeared more than two dozen times on the Stern show, most notably outfitted in a pink bunny suit and always sounding off in his inimitable way.

    He parlayed his fame into a Website, www.hankthedwarf.com (where fans could snap up official "Hank Says: Don't Drive & Drink" key chains), and a side career entertaining at parties (for a fee, he'd karaoke, lapdance, bartend or hurl insults at guests).

    Hank hit his pop-culture high point in 1998, when, thanks to a grassroots campaign by Stern faithful, he was named the Most Beautiful Person in the World per a 1998 People online poll.

    (updated 9/5/01 at 7:30 a.m. PT)

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