WWE legend Big Van Vader has died aged 63.

The wrestling icon - whose real name was Leon White - passed away on Monday evening (18.06.18) following a ''severe'' battle with pneumonia.

His son Jesse White revealed the sad news in a post on his father's official Twitter account on Wednesday (20.06.18), and praised him for how hard he fought at the end.

He wrote: ''It is with a heavy heart to inform everyone that my father, Leon White, passed away on Monday night (6/18/18) at approximately 7:25pm.

''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.''

During his storied wrestling career, Vader first made waves in Verne Gange's American Wrestling Association, and later used his size and athleticism to become a huge star in New Japan Pro Wrestling.

He would go on to repeat this success in the US with World Championship Wrestling, grappling with the likes of WWE Hall of Famers Ron Simmons and Sting, and earning himself three WCW World Championship reigns.

Vader later joined WWE in 1996, and faced off with such legendary superstars as The Undertaker and Shawn Michaels.

In a statement, WWE wrote: ''WWE is saddened to learn that Leon White, better known to WWE audiences as Vader, passed away Monday night at the age of 63.''

The company added: ''WWE extends its condolences to White's family, friends and fans.''

Vader had been battling medical issues recently - including his heart - but as recently as May 7, he was hoping to make a return to the ring.

He tweeted at the time: ''Looking good hope to get an medical release to wrestle again soon''

Past and current WWE superstars have paid their respects after the sad news was announced.

D-Von Dudley wrote: ''My prayers and thoughts go out to the family Of truly one of the greatest big men to step foot in the ring. Vader my friend May you R.I.P (sic)''

While current star Big E tweeted: ''Maaaaan...Vader was my guy as a child and was a sweetheart when he came down to FCW to help train us.

''I'm forever grateful for the conversations I was able to share with him. Condolences to Leon's son, Jesse, and the rest of his family.''