Former WWE wrestler Shad Gaspard was found dead on Wednesday morning after having gone missing the previous weekend while swimming with his son. He was 39.
A person reported that a body had washed ashore at about 1:25 am, according to a statement from the Los Angeles Police Department.
Gaspard, Son Caught in Ocean Current on Sunday
Authorities later identified the body as Gaspard and his next of kin was notified, police said.
The former WWE wrestler went missing on Sunday morning after going swimming with his 10-year-old son on Venice Beach. The two found themselves caught in strong currents, as were several other swimmers.
Lifeguards swam out in an attempt to rescue Gaspard and his son. According to a Variety report, Gaspard told the lifeguards to rescue his son, Aryeh. A lifeguard took Aryeh back to shore, uninjured.
Gaspard remained in the ocean, with a lifeguard reporting last seeing him around 50 yards from shore.
“When last seen by the lifeguard, a wave had crashed over Mr. Shad Gaspard and he was swept out to sea,” local police said in a statement earlier this week.
In a statement, Shad’s wife Siliana Gaspard thanked those who helped rescue her son and search for her husband.
“We would like to express our gratitude to the first responders who rescued Aryeh and to the lifeguards, coast guard, divers, fire, and police departments for their continued efforts to help find our beloved Shad,” Siliana said in the statement.
Wrestling World Mourns Colleague
The WWE also released a statement, saying the organization was “saddened” to learn of Gaspard’s death.
“In his final act, Gaspard instructed lifeguards to save his son’s life,” the WWE statement read. “Admired by friends and colleagues for his warmth and humor, Gaspard was no stranger to heroic deeds. In 2016, he broke up an armed robbery in Coral Springs, Florida, pinning the suspect to the ground until police arrived.”
Gaspard famously partnered with JTG in the tag team duo Cryme Tyme. The team once teamed up with John Cena for a storyline in 2008. He also enjoyed many years of success on the independent wrestling circuit, and made many appearances in films, television shows, and video games, often doing stunt work.
Gaspard also played basketball at Georgia Perimeter College. At various times, he served as a bodyguard for celebrities, including Britney Spears, Mike Tyson, and P. Diddy.
Tributes to Gaspard came in from around the wrestling world as news of his death spread.
The thoughts of everyone at WWE are with Shad Gaspard’s family during this difficult time. pic.twitter.com/dLRnF6oElX
— Vince McMahon (@VinceMcMahon) May 19, 2020
My prayers and hope for Shad Gaspard’s wife, son and family during this unthinkable time. Man, this is a tough one. A really tough one.
— Dwayne Johnson (@TheRock) May 20, 2020
This is just terrible news about Shad Gaspard being missing. I am thinking and praying for Shad, his family, and all those who love him
— Mick Foley (@RealMickFoley) May 18, 2020
“The thoughts of everyone at WWE are with Shad Gaspard’s family during this difficult time,” WWE chairman and CEO Vince McMahon wrote on Twitter.