Leon '"Big Van" Vader' White has died.
His son announced the sad news via his father's Twitter account this afternoon. White, 63, passed away following what was described as a "severe case of pneumonia" on Monday night, after years battling multiple, serious health issues related to his heart.
Fans of a certain age and inclination deeply admired Vader's work throughout the 1990s. A beacon of credibility in a largely cartoonish North American wrestling landscape, Vader drew grimaces and praise alike for his stiff series of seminal matches with Sting, Ric Flair and, notoriously, Cactus Jack in WCW - but it was the Japanese scene that truly maximised Vader's frightening aura and violent appeal.
Vader excelled in both major Japanese leagues and the fringe shoot sensations alike - there can be no better way to pay tribute to the man than by watching his legendarily ferocious UWF-i war with Nobuhiko Takada in 1993 - in a testament to his versatility. Vader grasped the pomp and circumstance of it all with his iconic gear, and at once terrified and entertained with his gripping hybrid of bruising brawling and astounding athleticism.
All fans are unanimous in their appraisal of Vader as one of the greatest super-heavyweights ever to step in the ring.
Known outside the ring for his sweet nature, Vader was the inverse of the old "extensions of themselves" adage that many believe to be the key to pro wrestling stardom. This was yet another testament to his immense credentials as a worker.
WhatCulture.com extends its condolences to his family and friends at this sad time.