We are saddened to report that wrestling legend Leon White, better known to fans across the world as Vader, passed away on Monday night. He was 63 years old.
A message posted on Vader’s official Twitter account states that he was diagnosed with a severe case of pneumonia last month. He fought hard and was making progress in his recovery, but ultimately his heart gave out.
Vader is widely considered one of the greatest ‘super heavyweight’ atheltes to ever lace up a pair of boots. The former NFL center had a long wrestling career, having made his debut in 1985 and competing as recently as last year.
He had memorable runs in All Japan Pro Wrestling, New Japan Pro Wrestling, WCW, WWE and worked for various independent promotions across the world. He was a 3-time IWGP Heavyweight Champion, 2-time All Japan Triple Crown Champion and 3-time WCW World Heavyweight Champion.
In November 2016, Vader announced that he was diagnosed with congestive heart failure. He underwent heart surgery back in March.
Sadly, has yet to be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame, despite campaigning for it on social media throughout the years. As Vader would say, it’s time.
SEScoops wishes sincere condolences to the family and friends of Leon White. RIP
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/DYttSj7mk2
— Jesse White (@Mr_JesseWhite) June 20, 2018
Reactions to Vader’s Passing
My heart is heavy with the news of Leon White’s passing. He was an amazing performer who brought out the very best in so many. Best big man ever, the most effective monster heel of his generation. My heartfelt prayers to his loved ones, and my gratitude for having known him. pic.twitter.com/uy3yBfwZOs
— Mick Foley (@RealMickFoley) June 20, 2018
Sorry To Hear About The Loss Of Another Great! Rest In Peace My Friend! pic.twitter.com/O0NvIINS3l
— Ric Flair® (@RicFlairNatrBoy) June 20, 2018
Loved working with Leon, loved the friendship I had with him for many years, and especially these last 8 months of his life. He will truly be missed. pic.twitter.com/32cWMdH2yX
— Sting (@Sting) June 20, 2018
Our thoughts are with the family, friends and fans of former WCW World Heavyweight Champion Vader. pic.twitter.com/MF6lqaiYfX
— 83 Weeks (@83Weeks) June 20, 2018
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
— Harley Race (@8XNWAChampion) June 20, 2018
— Bubba Ray Dudley (@bullyray5150) 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
So sad to hear of the passing of Leon White, Vader. Leon was so far ahead of his time. R.I.P. Leon
— Bruce Prichard (@bruceprichard) June 20, 2018
Vader was one of the best big men in the business. Can't think of many who could do moonsaults off the top rope. Sad to hear of his passing.
— Jason Solomon (@solomonster) June 20, 2018
— Samoa Joe (@SamoaJoe) June 20, 2018
R.I.P Big Leon. Did my 1st tour in Japan with you in the big seat . Thanks for showing me the ropes and yes soft shell turtle is delicious. I thought you were ribbing me pic.twitter.com/N6RTSsnCmN
— Kevin Nash (@RealKevinNash) June 20, 2018
We are deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Vader. Our thoughts are with his family today. pic.twitter.com/7olr0V4NNR
— IMPACT (@IMPACTWRESTLING) June 20, 2018
We send our deepest condolences to the family, friends and fans of Leon White (aka BIG VAN VADER) who passed away last night.
— NWA (@nwa) June 20, 2018
RIP Vader ? https://t.co/wEgrcdzJMH
— PAIGE (@RealPaigeWWE) June 20, 2018