He Died Rescuing His Son: Body Of Missing Former WWE Star Shad Gaspard Found On The Beach
The body of former pro wrestler Shad Gaspard, 39, was found washed ashore on Venice Beach in California on May 20, two days after he went missing.
Gaspard had been out swimming with his 10-year-old son, Aryeh, when he was caught in a rip current. His last words were to a lifeguard: “Just secure my son, rescue my son,” authorities said.
Gaspard shot to fame at the pro-wrestling entertainment company World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) as part of the Cryme Tyme duo with his partner, JTG. Also an actor, Gaspard appeared as a stunt performer in the movie “Black Panther” and performed in “Get Hard.”
But Gaspard was also known for heroic deeds. In 2016, he prevented an armed robbery at a gas station in Florida. A man stuck a gun in his face and tried to rob him, but Gaspard overpowered him and held him for police, The Sun reported.
Pro wrestler-turned-actor Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson sent the Gaspard family emotional condolences on Instagram, saying, “And your warrior spirit lives on through your son.”
Gaspard was reported missing on May 19, after he was swept out to sea by a rip current while swimming with his son, according to the Los Angeles County Fire Department Lifeguard Division.
He and his son had been swimming in waist-deep water, but conditions changed quickly, Kenichi Haskett, the section chief of the lifeguard division, told the New York Times.
A lifeguard noticed the father and son struggling in the water and went to rescue them. Aryeh was closer to the shore, so the lifeguard reached him first, the authorities said.
“The lifeguard went out on a two-person rescue in that rip current, 75 yards off shore,” Chief Haskett said, adding that Gaspard had seen the lifeguard and pointed him to Aryeh.
“His last few words were, ‘Just secure my son, rescue my son,’” Chief Haskett said.
Gaspard was about 50 yards from shore when a wave crashed over him and he was swept out to sea, ESPN reported.
“In 60 seconds, the lifeguard went back out to go get Shad,” Chief Haskett said. “He saw him and then a wave came and pushed him under.” Gaspard did not resurface.
A search for Gaspard began immediately but he was not found. The search continued the next day with divers and sonar equipment. The Coast Guard called off its search two days later.
“Shad was our whole world and we were his,” Siliana Gaspard, Gaspard’s wife, said in a statement. “There are not enough words to describe what he means to all of us. He was our heart, our soul, our protector, our warrior. He was a bright force of nature, who brought joy to many through his joyous and gracious nature.”
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“Shad was and will always be our real-life superhero,” she added.
“WWE is saddened to learn that former WWE Superstar Shad Gaspard has passed away at the age of 39,” the wrestling company said in a statement. “Admired by friends and colleagues for his warmth and humor, Gaspard was no stranger to heroic deeds.”
“This one hurts,” The Rock posted in condolences on Instagram. “Great guy. My deepest condolences and love to Shad Gaspard’s wife, son, and family. Shad drowned in the ocean, but not before instructing lifeguards to save his 10yr old son first. That’s the love of a father. This is a tough one to process. Love and light to Shad’s family. And your warrior spirit lives on through your son.”