It’s with a heavy heart that I write this headline: WWE, WCW, and Japan Wrestling legend Vader has passed away. Leon White played the character of Vader for many years. At age 63, White passed away.
Vader’s son Jesse White posted on Vader’s official Twitter account that he had passed away on Monday, June 18, 2018 after a battle with Pneumonia. The Tweet read “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.”.
WWE posted the following on their official website:
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.
Editor’s Note: While I wasn’t a massive fan of Vader, I always enjoyed watching him work. From his days in the WWE to his appearances on Disney’s Boy Meets World, Vader always found a way to entertain me. This breaks my heart as I know he had been battling so many medical issues over the last few years.
My heart goes out to the White family during this time.