Former WWE wrestler Leon White—known by his ring name Big Van Vader—has died after years struggling with heart problems. He was 63.
Vader was diagnosed with congestive heart failure in November 2016 and given just two years to live but kept on wrestling, including a series of shows in Japan in April 2017. He underwent open-heart surgery this April, which was deemed a success.
Vader played college football at the University of Colorado and was a third-round pick by the Rams in 1978. After two years in the NFL, he transitioned to wrestling. He got his start in the AWA and soon moved to New Japan Pro Wrestling, where he adopted the Big Van Vader name. Vader made his major American debut with WCW in 1990 and moved to WWF in 1996, where his name was shortened to just Vader.