Former World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) pro Shad Gaspard‘s body was found washed up on Venice Beach on Wednesday morning after he was swept out to sea in Southern California last weekend while swimming with his young son.
— Tina Patel (@tina_patel) May 20, 2020
Gaspard’s 10-year-old son, Aryeh, was rescued, and several other swimmers made it out of the water safely after they were caught in a rip current Sunday afternoon at Venice Beach in Los Angeles.
“When last seen by the lifeguard, a wave had crashed over Mr. Shad Gaspard and he was swept out to sea,” Los Angeles police said in a statement Monday.
READ MORE: Howard Finkel dead: WWE announcer dies at 69
Gaspard, 39, was about 50 feet (46 metres) from shore when he was last spotted, police said.
On Monday, WWE star MVP shared a statement from Gaspard’s family on Twitter and said they appreciate “all the love, support, and concern through this horrible ordeal.”
“At this time they are not ready to make any public of official statements to any media outlet and ask all to respect their wishes,” the tweet read.
Tweeted at the request of Shad's family.@Shadbeast ‘s family appreciates all the love, support, and concern through this horrible ordeal. At this time they are not ready to make any public or official statements to any media outlet And ask all to respect their wishes.
— MVP (@The305MVP) May 19, 2020
Shad’s wife, Siliana Gaspard, issued a statement Tuesday thanking authorities and fans.
“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,” the statement said.
“Shad is a fighter, a warrior and a magical soul. We are hoping and praying for his safe return. As a family we thank you all for your concern and well wishes. Please continue to keep sending your positivity and prayers to our beloved Shad.”
View this post on Instagram
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. . . Shad is a fighter, a warrior and a magical soul. We are hoping and praying for his safe return. As a family we thank you all for your concern and well wishes. Please continue to keep sending your positivity and prayers to our beloved Shad. . . From The Entire Gaspard & Chittick Family
On Tuesday, the U.S. Coast Guard said it suspended its search for the missing swimmer “after 16.5 hours of searching with multiple rescue assets covering 70 square nautical miles and seven search patterns.”
Officials said a body had been found in the area on Wednesday, but they did not confirm the identity of the deceased at the time.
The Los Angeles Fire Department responded to the area near Lifeguard Tower 26 at Venice Beach around 1:46 a.m. on Wednesday after being notified by the Los Angeles Police Department.
On Wednesday morning, Gaspard’s family members showed up to Venice Beach to identify the body found in the area after the former WWE wrestler went missing three days earlier.
Family members showing up at Venice Beach after a body washes up on shore, almost 3 days and less than a mile away from the spot where former @WWE wrestling star Shad Gaspard went missing in the water. @FOXLA @GDLA @LAPDHQ 🙏🏽💔 pic.twitter.com/Xorpas4reW
— Mario Ramirez (@MarioFOXLA) May 20, 2020
Many fans of Gaspard and members of the WWE community took to social media to mourn the loss of the former WWE star.
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
View this post on Instagram
Very sorry & sad to hear about the disappearance of @shadbeast13 today. He was a fun cat and I always had a blast working with him!!! This clip is from a tag title match that @wwethebigshow & I had vs #ShadGaspard & @jtg121084 w @shaq as the ringside enforcer. Thoughts & prayers to his family and friends worldwide….
View this post on Instagram
Shad Gaspard had a HUGE heart. He was like an annoying little brother at times. We often gave eachother a hard time, but always with love! He always had a big smile on his face and was ready to share a laugh! I have had a LOT of friends and colleagues die. This one hurts different. We shared this incredible moment together. I was angry at him for sharing it. When this video went viral and people expressed their reactions to OUR reaction I realized Shad made the right call. I called him to apologize for cussing him out. We laughed. He recently sent me some of the screenplays he was working on. He had big goals. Big plans. His final act on this earth was to give his life to save his son's. A son, a husband, a father, a friend. A hero…
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
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 SHAD GASPARD I LOVE YOU FOREVER
— The Iron Sheik (@the_ironsheik) May 18, 2020
This news about Shad Gaspard is just heartbreaking …… 🙏
— Bill Goldberg (@Goldberg) May 18, 2020
WWE’s thoughts are with the family of Shad Gaspard. Please continue to keep them in your thoughts during this difficult time. pic.twitter.com/uBk0Qo9lXt
— WWE (@WWE) May 19, 2020
Thinking of Shad Gaspard and his family. ❤
— Nick Aldis (@RealNickAldis) May 18, 2020
Never did the meaning “brother “mean more to me than it did with #ShadGaspard. I’ll never forget the day Shad posted these pics of us early 20 something-year-olds,& illustrating our pathway through life’s accomplishments & into fatherhood side by side 4 20 years!I love u brother pic.twitter.com/jJSDCuWnk5
— Matt Morgan (@BPmattmorgan) May 19, 2020
Gaspard gained prominence in the WWE as one half of the tag-team group Cryme Tyme, along with his partner, JTG.
After retiring from the WWE in 2010, Gaspard had small roles on TV and in movies, including in the 2015 Kevin Hart comedy “Get Hard”.
— With files from the Associated Press