WWE Legend Vader Undergoes Open-Heart Surgery

WWE Hall of Famer Vader (real name Leon White) underwent open-heart surgery on Monday. According to his son, Jesse, the procedure was a success.

"This is his son Jesse. I wanted to let everybody know that I just spoke to the surgeon," Jesse wrote via Vader's Twitter account. "The surgery was a success but it was worse than we expected. Long road to reovery. Will keep you posted. Thank you for the prayers."

The former super heavyweight world champion admitted in an interview with Bill Apter the day before the surgery that he was dealing with 10 clogged blood vessels, calling himself a "walking time bomb."

"Bill I've been through several surgeries," Vader said. "More than several. I've had a bunch of them, more than I care to mention with my football career and my wrestling career. But this is the big one. This is what I wanted to tell people. I spoke to the surgeon, and I'm in good hands."

"I literally have 10 blood vessels that are clogged, over 90 percent of my heart. I guess just to put it mildly I'm a walking time bomb. I went in for a routine visit... I was having chest pains. And I go into see him (his doctor), and he says you need to go into the hospital. I go 'Oh god, when? In the next couple of weeks? I've got bookings and I've got this and that. He says 'No, right now.' So he basically gave me some injectable blood thinners right then."

The 62-year-old said those blood thinners have been what's kept him from having a heart attack in the 10 days he's been in the hospital. He encouraged all of his fans listening to get a regular heart check up, even if they're only 35 or 40 years old.

"Here's the deal, I was afraid," Vader said. "I said, 'Hey, my heart feels great. I'm wrestling, I'm riding the bike 30 minutes hard. There's no pain, I'm fine.' Well guess what, I wasn't fine. I had blockage, he said the type of blockage that you, over 90 percent in 10 arteries started 15 years ago. So let's say you came in 10 years, even eight years ago and got checked out and found some blockage. We could've gone in there with a catheter, basically stuck a cable into my groin and worked it up through my stomach and cleaned that out."


Following a two-season career in the NFL, Vader went on to work for the AWA, New Japan Pro Wrestling, WCW, WWF and All-Japan Pro Wrestling between 1985 and 2002, winning the WCW World Heavyweight Championship and IWGP Heavyweight Championship three times each.

Vader last appeared on WWE television in 2012, first in a squash match against Health Slater on the June 11 episode of Monday Night Raw and again on the 1000th episode of Raw on July 23. In 2016 he inducted Stan Hansen into the WWE Hall of Fame.