We all knew him as Big Van Vader, but to his family he was Leon White. Today, his son broke the news that his father had passed away.
Vader, as he was known to fans, was 63 years old, and had been dealing with some health issues over the last few years.
A couple of years ago, he revealed that he was suffering from congestive heart failure and that he would likely have two more years to live.
Even though he had medical issues, he continued wrestling. But two years ago in Japan, he ended up collapsing in the ring. He said that it wasn’t caused by his heart issues, but because of hitting his head while in the ring, but it’s still a scary thing to experience.
Things took a turn a month ago, and in his statement about his father’s death, his son revealed what happened to the wrestling legend.
“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 [June 18th] his heart had enough and it was his time.”
He had just gone through open heart surgery in March to try and treat his condition, but unfortunately it didn’t matter.
Not only was he a pro wresler, but he also was a player in the NFL and even played in Super Bowl XIV against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
As one of the big wrestling stars of the 90s, Vader managed to make his way into other forms of media, including TV shows. The 90s favorite Boy Meets World was one of the shows he appeared in, where he played Frankie Stechino’s father.
The cast got to come into the ring and hang out with the legend, making it one of the most memorable moments on the show.
The cast and crew of the show remembered working with him fondly. Creator of the show, Michael Jacobs revealed just how wonderful it was to get to cast him.
“His persona on television struck a little fear into the hearts of the kids on the show for about six seconds. But kids are the first to see right through you and they realized that this was a very good guy and there was a lot of clowning around. All the kids on the set just tagged up and went after him, so they probably made his life a little bit of hell.”
It’s very sad that this wrestling hero has passed away at such a young age.
He worked with a lot of wrestlers over the years, and I think he would agree that they just don’t get enough appreciation for the amount of effort they put into our enjoyment.
Source – TMZ