Hector Ayala was a Puerto Rican immigrant studying in New York City's Empire State University. One day, he happened upon mystical amulets in the shape of a tiger's head and paws. Unknown to him, they were recently discarded by the crime-fighting team known as the Sons of the Tiger. When wearing the amulet, Ayala found himself endowed with the strength and reflexes of three men. He decided to become a hero, calling himself the White Tiger.
As the White Tiger, Ayala became a successful costumed hero. He soon met and teamed up with Spider-Man, and the two would often share adventures together, such as fighting the Masked Marauder and Carrion. In fact, Ayala and Spider-Man would become such close friends that they shared their secret identities with one another.
Over time, however, Ayala grew uncomfortable as a crime-fighter, and after nearly dying in confrontation with the criminal Gideon Mace, Ayala gave his amulets to the police detective Blackbyrd, a friend of the Sons of the Tiger, with instructions to return the amulets to them. Ayala returned to a normal civilian life, eventually marrying his long-time girlfriend, Holly Gillis.
More recently, Ayala somehow came into possession of the mystic pendants once again. After a fight with his wife, Ayala donned his White Tiger costume again, hoping to come out of retirement and begin fighting crime again. Unfortunately, in the first crime scene he came to, he arrived too late to help stop a robbery at a pawn shop, and an officer was shot. The two thugs managed to overpower Ayala and escape, leaving him holding a stolen TV and standing over the body of the policeman when his back-up arrived.
Ayala was arrested and sent to trial. He used Matt Murdock (Daredevil) and Foggy Nelson as his council. Unfortunately, the trial went from bad to worse, due in part to Ayala's outburst when being questioned about his marriage. Ultimately, a guilty verdict was returned, and Ayala overreacted. He grabbed a gun from a security guard as he tried to flee the courthouse, only to be confronted by police and shot. Murdock was able to convince the true culprit to confess, but it was too late.