WWE Legend Vader Dies at Age 63

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistJune 20, 2018

Photo credit: WWE.com.

WWE legend Vader, born Leon White, died Monday night at the age of 63.

Vader's son, Jessie White, announced the news Wednesday:

Big Van Vader @itsvadertime

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. https://t.co/dP4CNaMuXa

Big Van Vader @itsvadertime

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. https://t.co/hJYjumvxjH

In November 2016, Vader tweeted he had two years to live as a result of heart issues:

Big Van Vader @itsvadertime

Told by 2.heart Drs at this time that my heart is wore out from footbal&wrestling I have 2 yrs to live , conjestive hesrt failure reality

Vader began his wrestling career in 1985 as part of the American Wrestling Association following a two-year stint in the NFL as a center for the Los Angeles Rams.

He soon enjoyed success on the Japanese wrestling scene before returning to the United States to become one of WCW's top stars.

Vader went on to become a three-time WCW world heavyweight champion and one-time WCW United States champion during his tenure.

The Colorado resident made the leap to WWE in 1996, and although he never won a title with the company during his run through 1998, he emerged as a top heel and feuded with the likes of Shawn Michaels and The Undertaker.

Vader continued to wrestle for many years after his departure, in Japan, TNA and various independent promotions across the United States.

The Mastodon even had a match as recently as 2016 against Will Ospreay for Revolution Pro Wrestling in the United Kingdom.

The match came about after Vader was critical of a match between Ospreay and Ricochet, which led to a war of words on Twitter.

Vader was victorious in that bout, which was the last high-profile match of his illustrious career.

In all, Vader captured 19 major championships during a career that spanned four decades.