WWE Issues Statement on Passing of Vader

News broke Tuesday morning that WWE legend and iconic big man Vader, real name Leon White, passed away at the age of 63. WWE.com issued the following statement regarding White's passing.

WWE is saddened to learn that Leon White, better known to WWE audiences as Vader, passed away Monday night at the age of 63.

White began his sports-entertainment career in the mid-1980s after retiring from the NFL due to injury. He rose to national prominence in Verne Gagne's American Wrestling Association before joining New Japan Pro Wrestling as the masked Big Van Vader. He went on to become one of the promotion's biggest stars and most feared competitors.

Vader then transitioned to World Championship Wrestling, where he would make the biggest mark of his career. He engaged in memorable rivalries with the likes of Sting and Ron Simmons, becoming a dominant, three-time WCW World Champion in the process.

In 1996, Vader joined the WWE roster, where he squared off against Superstars such as Shawn Michaels and The Undertaker. He also found success on the small screen with a recurring guest role on the popular 1990s television program, "Boy Meets World."

WWE extends its condolences to White's family, friends and fans.

Vader has been in and out of the hospital for most of 2018 due to complications related to congestive heart failure. In March, he underwent open-heart surgery after labeling himself a "walking time bomb." That surgery while successful, kept Vader's health in doubt as the native Californian had the second procedure in early may. However, according to his son, who broke the news of Vader's death, it was Pneumonia that attributed to his death.

"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."

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Vader had multiple stints in WWE during the 90's working as a main event heel. While never nabbing WWE's top prize, Vader unquestionable enjoyed a Hall of Fame career. As one of wrestling's greatest big men, Vader was a fixture in the main event, regardless of the promotion. He notched multiple World Championships in WCW and was highly regarded as a dominant attraction for several years in Japan.