Leon White, commonly known as former WWE superstar Vader, has passed away, according to his son on Vader’s official Twitter page. He was 63 years old.
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
His son sent a follow-up tweet, saying Vader had been dealing with a “severe case of pneumonia.” The tweet then said, “He fought extremely hard and clinically was making progress. Unfortunately, on Monday night his heart had enough and it was his time.”
WWE confirmed the loss on its own social media page.
WWE is saddened to learn that Leon White, better known to WWE audiences as Vader, passed away Monday night at the age of 63. https://t.co/UNIbdS680I
— WWE (@WWE) June 20, 2018
Considered one of the best big men in wrestling history, Vader found success in both WWE and WCW. He was WCW World Heavyweight Champion three times and WCW United States Champion once. He was voted best heel in 1993 by the Wrestling Observer and was #2 ranked wrestler that year, according to PWI.
He had tremendous success in the independent scene, including his time in Japan. He is a three-time IWGP Heavyweight Champion and held numerous other titles while working the independent scene.
He was one of the more agile big men of all time, hitting moves like the Vader Bomb and the Vadersault. He is also known for his patented mask that he would wear, which would strike fear into his opponents.
Various wrestlers took to Twitter to send their condolences.
RIP Vader 🙏 https://t.co/wEgrcdzJMH
— PAIGE (@RealPaigeWWE) June 20, 2018
Maaaaan…Vader was my guy as a child and was a sweetheart when he came down to FCW to help train us. I’m forever grateful for the conversations I was able to share with him. Condolences to Leon’s son, Jesse, and the rest of his family.
— Florida Man (@WWEBigE) June 20, 2018
— Bully Ray (@bullyray5150) June 20, 2018
The entire Sports Al Dente team sends its condolences to the White family during this difficult time.