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Vader dead: WWE legend dies after pneumonia illness and heart failure, aged 63

Former WWE and WCW wrestler was diagnosed with pneumonia last month, with his son announcing that he passed away from heart failure on Monday night

Jack de Menezes
Wednesday 20 June 2018 17:52 BST
WWE: Vader vs. Heath Slater 2012

Leon White, better known as WWE legend Vader, has died following a short illness with pneumonia, aged 63.

Vader, who wrestled in both WWE and WCW during an illustrious 32-year wrestling career, was diagnosed with the illness around a month ago and despite improving while in hospital, his family confirmed that he passed away on Monday night.

A statement posted by his son, Jesse, on the official Vader Twitter account 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.

“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.”

His death was also announced by the WWE, whom Vader joined in 1996 following a brief spell with NFL side the LA Rams and cutting his teeth in the wrestling world in the American Wrestling Association, New Japan Wrestling and WCW – where he became a three-time WCW world champion.

The statement added: “WWE is saddened to learn that Leon White, better known to WWE audiences as Vader, passed away Monday night at the age of 63.

“WWE extends its condolences to White’s family, friends and fans.”

Former WWE wrestler Vader died on Monday night (WWE)

The wrestling fan-favourite suffered a nasty fall on his head in April last year that led to him collapsing during a live show in Japan – as he continued to wrestle even though congestive heart failure left him with two years to live. Vader underwent open-heart surgery in March earlier this year, having labelled himself a “walking time bomb” in an interview with Pre Wrestling Sheet due to having 10 clogged blood vessels.

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