Leon 'Vader' White passes away at 63

Originally published at https://www.postwrestling.com/2018/06/20/leon-vader-white-passes-away-at-63/

Leon White, better known as Big Van Vader or simply Vader, passed away on Monday night, according to his son Jesse who announced the news Wednesday.

White had been dealing with numerous health issues over the years, the latest being pneumonia that he battling and ultimately succumbed to. Earlier this year, he underwent open heart surgery.

We will have a much larger story on the site later today on his career.

1 Like

With all his health problems over the last couple of years it’s not a huge surprise but this is still very sad, probably the best big man ever.

It’s a shame he didn’t get into the WWE HOF before he passed(he constantly campaigned for it on Twitter)

R.I.P Big Man.


Sad news! I had an opportunity to see Vader wrestle at an independent show in the summer of 2015, and he still seemed pretty agile. Definitely one of the great big men in the business who could move around a lot for his size and probably the top monster heel from 1993-1996.

1 Like

He was an incredible wrestler who did some amazing things in his career. It’s sad to hear of his passing. I was always a Vader fan and loved his stuff.

What a shame, wrestlers pass far too young. I know he was sick the past two years with heart problems. I was glad to see him on an episode of Table for 3.

I wish he had more of a run in WWE, he was a great scary monster.

R.I.P. Vader.

Honestly during his main event run in the early-mid 90’s I wasn’t watching wrestling and I knew him best as wrestling the father of Cory’s bully/buddy Frankie in Boy Meets World.


His rivalry with Catus Jack was just many of the matches that captivated me as a child sporadically watching NWA/WCW. Best big man & my favorite villain in wrestling during the 90’s!

"Who’s the Man?"

You are Vader! Always have been!

I first saw him squash Marcus Alexander Bagwell on the very 1st episode of WCW Worldwide which was shown in The UK in 1992.

He certainly looked and played the part of the extremely intimidating monster, who you certain to remember (And give you nightmares lol)

Big Van Vader. Man the most feared heel in WCW in the early to mid 90’s. Vader was Awesome! He would destroy guys power bombing them on the floor or just throwing them like they were nothing with no regard. I’ll always remember his matches with Sting they were so physical and both guys had great chemistry with eachother. Classics! Other great matches and opponents he had were: Ron Simmons who he helped put over for Ron Simmons to win his first WCW World Championship and become the first Black man in history to do it. He had some good matches with Ric Flair, Hulk Hogan, Davey Boy Smith, Cactus Jack (brutal matches), I think he fought Rick Rude once as well and was a good match. There was also good tag match he headlined as the main event for Beach Blast 1993 where he teamed up with Sid to face Sting and Davey Boy. The promos for the build up were funny as anything they even made a mini movie which was hilarious! He had a good feud with the Guardian Angel as well. Then in WWF some good matches with Bret Hart, Shawn Michael’s, Yokozuna, Stone Cold, Jake Roberts, and Ahmed Johnson. He teamed with Mankind for awhile and had a good tag match against Owen and Davey Boy and Wrestlemania 13 and a good match at the Final Four in your house in the fatal four way against: Bret, Undertaker, and Stone Cold. Although he had some descent matches in the WWF they weren’t classics except for the Final Four match and WWF didn’t utilize him right the way WCW did. He didn’t even get to win one title in the WWF. One of his last matches with Kane was alright as well but mostly just a squash to build Kane up. Vader will always be remembered for his trademark Mastodon Helmont which was so cool and his leather mesh mask which made his character even more scary! He had a great career in Japan as well with classics against Stan Hanson were so violent! He also teamed up with Bam Bam Bigelow called Big Bad and Dangerous. He was one of my favorites in WCW. You’ll be in my Prayers Always. All the Best Always as well. It will Always be Vader Time Time Time!

Seen some great highlights on Twitter about him, Matthew from Botchamania posting a gif of Vader owning Ken Shamrock in a match. A fun story about how on a show they started playing his music and he was doing his boots up, when told he’s up he replied “I’m not”
“But you’re music playing”
“You better stop it”
But the best is this picture that Jonah Rock posted.

1 Like

Unspeakably massive loss.

Flair vs Vader at Starrcade '93 was my match. Found it on the “WCW Magazine presents: Best of WCW” VHS that populated bargain bins after WCW’s closure in 2001. Was just 12 at the time and had no context for Ric Flair or Vader or, hell, barely anything related to WCW, but in the course of the match, Flair looked like the most valiant babyface in the history of the game all because Vader just wouldn’t stop whomping him.

It was like a horror movie monster preying on a victim in real-time, Vader just inhabited every inch of the ring and Flair looked straight-up doomed. Even as the Vader train slowly derailed over the course of the match, as Flair mounted a comeback and Race got desperate to help his client, Vader looked like he was only ever a second away from bodyshotting Flair and regaining control. Even with eating the loss that night, Vader came off like a beast.

Later saw Vader’s stuff from WCW, WWF, NJPW and AJPW and Vader was just the man save for a few hiccups. He played the agile beast so well that I’d argue his work should considered the very template by which all monster attractions should be presented.