WWE Legend Vader Dead at 63


WWE legend Big Van Vader has died following complications from congestive heart failure, TMZ reports. He was 63 years old.

Vader, whose real name was Leon White, passed away on Monday night. According to his official Twitter account, he was diagnosed with a severe case of pneumonia, from which he ultimately never recovered:

In addition to his time in the ring, Vader tried his hand at acting. Perhaps most memorable was his recurring role as father to Frankie “The Enforcer” Stecchino on Boy Meets World. He also guest-starred in an episode of Baywatch, and appeared in the martial arts film Fist of the North Star.

Though known as a professional wrestler, Vader began his career in the NFL. He was drafted as a center for the Los Angeles Rams in 1978, but forced to retire after two seasons due to a knee injury.

Vader was first recruited by the American Wrestling Association in 1985, when he first went by the moniker Baby Bull. He was given the ring name Big Van Vader when he signed with New Japan Pro-Wrestling in 1987. He’d go on to become known for his aerial maneuvers, including the Vadersault. He was eventually inducted into the Wrestling Observer Newsletter Hall of Fame in 1996.