WWE Legend Vader Has Died Aged 63
Leon ‘Big Van Vader’ White has passed away at the age of 63 years old.
The WWE legend’s son, Jesse White, announced the sad news on Twitter, writing:
It is with a heavy heart to inform everyone that my father, Leon White, passed away on Monday night (6/18/18) at approximately 7:25pm.
Around a month ago my father was diagnosed with a severe case of Pneumonia. He fought extremely hard and clinically was making progress.
Unfortunately, on Monday night his heart had enough and it was his time.
White was diagnosed with congestive heart failure back in November 2016, however he continued with his wrestling career; participating in a number of shows in Japan during April 2017.
After his diagnosis, White announced he had just two years to live, stating:
Told by 2 heart Drs that my heart is wore out. I have been given less than two yrs [sic] to live. I am only now allowing this as part of my reality.
White underwent open heart surgery earlier in 2018, and – using his father’s account – Jesse tweeted about the serious situation at the time, explaining:
I wanted to let everybody know that I just spoke to the Surgeon. The surgery was a success but it was worse than we had expected.
Long road for recovery. Will keep you posted. Thank you for the prayers.
Tributes have today poured in for the heavyweight champion, from fans and fellow wrestlers alike.
One fan said:
I don’t think there’s any question that #Vader was the greatest super heavyweight of all time.
Bar none. And at his peak, around 1992-93, I would argue that he was the most intimidating professional wrestler in history.
Watching Vader do a moonsault is still one of the most amazing sights I’ve witnessed in a wrestling ring. He sounded like a real sweetheart in real life, too
Many fans are calling for WWE to recognise White’s contribution through inducting him into their Hall of Fame next year. This is something White had also reportedly wanted.
As Vader, White had incredible success, a three-time winner of both the WCW World Heavyweight Championship and the IWGP Heavyweight Championship. He was inducted into the Wrestling Observer Newsletter Hall of Fame in 1996.
Throughout his career, he went into the ring with fellow legends such as The Undertaker and Kane. He also had some success as an actor, giving a memorable recurring performance in Boy Meets World.
Despite being of large stature – he was 6 ft 4 in and 456 lb – White was surprisingly agile in the ring, astounding fans with his signature moves. He was well known for his his catchphrase, ‘It’s Vader Time.’
In a statement, WWE wrote the following message:
WWE is saddened to learn that Leon White, better known to WWE audiences as Vader, passed away Monday night at the age of 63.
WWE extends its condolences to White’s family, friends and fans.
Our thoughts are with the family of Leon White at this difficult time.
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