One of wrestling’s greatest ever big men, Vader has passed away at the age of 63.
His son announced on Vader’s own twitter account that he (real name Leon White) passed away on Monday night (18th June) at approximately 7:25pm. He had been suffering with pneunomia after having heart surgery.
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. pic.twitter.com/dP4CNaMuXa
— Big Van Vader (@itsvadertime) June 20, 2018
Vaderbegan his career in the mid-1980s after retiring from the NFL due to injury. He rose to national prominence in Verne Gagne’s AWA territory before joining New Japan Pro Wrestling, where he became infamous with his wars with Stan Hansen. He then went to World Championship Wrestling, becoming a three time WCW World Champion, having memorable bouts with the likes of Sting, Ron Simmons and Cactus Jack.
In 1996 he finally made his debut in WWF where he faced Shawn Michaels at Summerslam 96, Vader Bombed Gorilla Monsoon out of the WWF and had a feud with the legendary Undertaker. He made two returns to the company, once in 2005 to team with Jonathan Coachman and Goldust to face Batista, and in 2012 to face and defeat Heath Slater in the run-up to Raw 25. In recent years he became known for his critique of and then feud with Will Ospreay, which led to the most unlikely to match-ups in Revolution Pro Wrestling in 2016.
TWM sends its condolences to the White family.