As we noted before, former WCW World Heavyweight Champion Big Van Vader passed away at the age of 63.
Vader’s son confirmed the news on Twitter with the following tweets:
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
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. pic.twitter.com/hJYjumvxjH
— Big Van Vader (@itsvadertime) June 20, 2018
For those who don’t know, Vader explained his situation in an interview with Hannibal TV back in 2016 and said the following:
“I was in the medical center and I was seeing my doctor, who is actually an MD, and heart specialists came into my room. They said ‘We’ve been looking at your heart’ and I said ‘Who are you?’ I didn’t recognize the guy. He said ‘You have two years to live. We’ve been looking at your heart, and that’s the deal.’
It wasn’t much longer than that when he came back in the room — cause he left and obviously I had a bunch of questions and I’m in the process of answering those questions at this point. So for me to start talking would probably be premature at this point.
I’ve been in the gym, I feel okay, I’ve been feeling pretty good actually. I don’t know exactly what he’s talking about or if something will show itself up in weeks to come, but right now I’m still trying to figure out exactly what’s going on.”
Vader explained his situation once again last March during an appearance on Two Man Power Trip of Wrestling podcast and noted that he regrets announcing on Twitter that he has 2 more years to live:
“I really kind of regret tweeting it out. In other words when I got diagnosed and was told, “Leon, you have a bad heart and you have congestive heart failure and we feel your time is limited and you have maybe a couple of years left… two years or less to live.
I remember getting very angry and said this has gotta be bulls–t because I don’t feel bad and I remember getting extremely angry. Since that time and when I got the news I left the hospital and went right to the gym and rode the bike for a half hour. Hard.
As hard as I could and when I got off the bike and got on the treadmill and walked for another 15 minutes pretty hard and I was exhausted but my heart felt fine so how can I do that if my heart is going to give out?
The doctor in some of the ongoing appointments that I had with him explained to me that when you are tipping the scales at 400 and 420-25 pounds that a man that size and that heavy isn’t supposed to be able to push himself in a cardiovascular endeavor no matter what it is much past 2 or 3 minutes.”
WWE issued the following statement regarding Vader’s passing:
Vader passes away
“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.”
Below are Vader’s major accomplishments in Pro-Wrestling:
– 3x WCW World Heavyweight Champion
– 1x WCW United States Champion
– 3x IWGP Heavyweight Champion
– 1x IWGP Tag Team Champion
Below are tweets from wrestling stars and legends remembering Big Van Vader:
Sad to hear about the passing of Vader. He was one of the all time greats. My prayers go out to his family, may he rest in peace. #RIPVader pic.twitter.com/6Lk3nuP4kA
— Booker T. Huffman (@BookerT5x) June 20, 2018
Thoughts & prayers go out to the family & friends of Leon White after his passing. @itsvadertime made an ENORMOUS impact on our industry. Godspeed, Big Van Vader.
— #WOKEN Matt Hardy (@MATTHARDYBRAND) June 20, 2018
I’m saddened to hear about the passing of Leon “Baby Bull” White aka “Big” Van Vader! My prayers of strength go out to his family at this time, I’m sorry for your loss. #RIPVADER
— Brian G. James (@WWERoadDogg) June 20, 2018
It's with sad condolences to hear that my long time friend @itsvadertime has passed away. He was a great person to manage and a great human being. pic.twitter.com/R7itvDEdpe
— Harley Race (@8XNWAChampion) June 20, 2018
RIP BIG MAN. ?#Vader pic.twitter.com/x55ovH1xAB
— Bubba Ray Dudley (@bullyray5150) June 20, 2018
My prayers and thoughts go out to the family Of truly one of the greatest big men to step foot in the ring. Vader my friend May you R.I.P
— D-von Dudley (@TestifyDVon) 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
My deepest condolences, Jesse! I am so sorry to hear this. I had just received a text and qkly researched. So sad to find it to be true! I had hoped it was just a bad rumor. I learned much w wrkg w your dad. His stamp on wrestling will long be remembered! RIP Leon! ? https://t.co/aneD6B4neb
— Shane Douglas (@TheFranchiseSD) June 20, 2018
Sad news on the passing of Leon White aka Vader, who has been battling heart problems for some time. Leon was a very unique athlete had the huge size of a football player and the speed,agility of a small man played in Super Bowl and was champ pro wrestler RIP Leon.
— Gbrisco?♂️ (@Fgbrisco) June 20, 2018
#RIPBigVanVader #RIPLeonWhite https://t.co/77wx82s0do
— Justin Credible (@PJPOLACO) 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 hit me w/ live rounds while I was in Memphis '95 when he did Vader Roadkill Tour, snug but didn't hurt.. truly respect all you did for wrestling #RIPLeonWhite
— RIGGS (@realscottyriggs) June 20, 2018
GOD BLESS VADER FOREVER
— The Iron Sheik (@the_ironsheik) June 20, 2018
Rest in Power Big man. A shame we never got to mix it up more. #VaderTime pic.twitter.com/mFIEUfY1xE
— Samoa Joe (@SamoaJoe) June 20, 2018
R.I.P Vader.. One of the Baddest Big Men in… https://t.co/8MNUyBbOEf
— Heath Slater (@HeathSlaterOMRB) June 20, 2018
Only a handful truly revolutionize the business I love. This man was one of them. I grew up in awe of him and eventually admired him.
“No Pain!”#RIPBigVanVader ?? pic.twitter.com/IVDvoktWgO
— Scott Dawson (@ScottDawsonWWE) June 20, 2018
Rest In Peace Vader?? https://t.co/oEDRknKVoW
— Lina Fanene (@NiaJaxWWE) 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
Incredibly sad to hear. HUGE influence. #RIPVader https://t.co/gG92orpHAI
— Killian Dain (@KillianDain) June 20, 2018
"I fear no man and I feel no pain!"
Vader terrified me as a kid and later fired me up as a rebellious teenager. I was such a pure fan of him. RIP big man. #VaderTime #RIPVader pic.twitter.com/Qm5OWcckRB
— Nick Aldis (@RealNickAldis) June 20, 2018