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WWE releases an official statement after Vader tragically passes away aged 63

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WWE legend Leon White, who wrestled under the ring name Vader, passed away earlier this week, his family have confirmed via Twitter.  

"It is with a heavy heart to inform everyone that my father, Leon White, passed away on Monday night (6/18/18) at approximately 7:25 pm," a statement, posted on his official account read.

A second tweet explained that the cause of his death was pneumonia, which White was diagnosed with in May.  

"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."

The 63-year-old had a professional wrestling career that spanned over 30 years and he spent some of that time working with WWF and WWE. 

Despite wrestling much of his career as a heel, White was usually a fan favourite when performing under the name Vader with his trademark red mask.

He was a monstrous wrestler who's build reflected that of a true heel, but it was his capability of performing stunning aerial maneuvers that made pro-wrestling followers cheer him whenever he entered the ring. 

Outside of America, he won multiple championships across the world, while working with promotions including AJPW, NJPW and CWA.  

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WWE released the following statement on Wednesday:

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

"White began his sports-entertainment career in the mid-1980s after retiring from the NFL due to injury.

"He rose to national prominence in Verne Gagne’s American Wrestling Association before joining New Japan Pro Wrestling as the masked Big Van Vader. He went on to become one of the promotion’s biggest stars and most feared competitors.

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"Vader then transitioned to World Championship Wrestling, where he would make the biggest mark of his career. He engaged in memorable rivalries with the likes of Sting and Ron Simmons, becoming a dominant, three-time WCW World Champion in the process.

"In 1996, Vader joined the WWE roster, where he squared off against Superstars such as Shawn Michaels and The Undertaker. He also found success on the small screen with a recurring guest role on the popular 1990s television program, 'Boy Meets World.'

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

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Following the tragic news, fans have been paying their respects on social media. 

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO THE LATEST EPISODE OF TURNBUCKLE TALK - GIVEMESPORT'S WWE PODCAST - THIS WEEK FEATURING TRIPLE H AND PETE DUNNE.

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