Big Van Vader Passes Away

Vader-WWE-011316-wwe-ftr

He soon enjoyed success on the Japanese wrestling scene before returning to the United States to become one of WCW's top stars. The man behind the red mask, Leon White, has died from pneumonia at the age of 63 after battling a number of health issues in recent years.

Wrestler Somoa Joe gave Vader's famous "V" finger salute on Twitter. Big Van Vader (real name Leon White) has been dealing with a number of heart-related conditions and other illnesses for a while now, but it all finally caught up to him. Vader explained in detail in his interview that something he had always prided himself on-being a 400-plus pounder doing 30 and even 60-minute matches-was the cause of his congestive heart condition.

Powell's POV: White is among the best big men in the history of the pro wrestling industry. He was later drafted by the Los Angeles Rams in 1978 and faced off against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XIV.

White started off in the American Wrestling Association as Baby Bull, then began going by Big Van Vader in New Japan Pro Wrestling in 1987. He won the IWGP heavyweight title in 1989, defeating Shinya Hashimoto in the finals of an eight-man tournament.

Two pictures of White were shared, featuring a snap of him smiling enjoying a drink and one posing with a championship belt in his golden years. I said a lot of the things I really felt needed to be said at that time - and probably need to be repeated now, more than ever.

Fourteen-time WWE World Champion Triple H wrote: "Leon White entertained (and intimidated) audiences all over the world with his size, strength, and agility". He famously took on guys like The Undertaker and Kane.

"I would say, I would virtually do a Vince McMahon guarantee that Vader's going into the WWE Hall Of Fame next year".

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