The Los Angeles Police Department has confirmed in a press statement that a body found is that of professional wrestler and actor Shad Gaspard. The Brooklyn native was last seen by a lifeguard at Venice Beach in California when a tidal wave crashed over and pulled Gaspard, his 10-year-old son Aryeh, and other swimmers out into deep waters. Aryeh was quickly rescued, but the former WWE pro wrestler went missing until his body was discovered by passersby in the early morning of May 20.
According to the LAPD, Gaspard was some 150 feet from shore when he was last spotted, and the lifeguards and first responders who rescued Aryeh made a valiant effort to find Mr. Gaspard but to no avail.
Gaspard, whose parents are from Haiti and Curacao, rose to fame in the WWE as one half of the tag team group Cryme Tyme, along with his partner JTG. After about 7 years in pro-wrestling, he left WWE and went on to several television and movie roles including Get Hard, Think Like a Man Too, and My First Miracle.
The third of six siblings, the young Shad showed a great interest in athletics, and by the age of 5, his father began to train him in boxing and martial arts. He excelled in these and other sports, and also played college basketball. Before his own career took off, the 6’8”, 285 lb. bodybuilder had a stint as a bodyguard to a host of celebrities including P Diddy, Britney Spears, and Mike Tyson.
Shad married Siliana, the mother of his son, in 2009. The distraught wife released a statement thanking the authorities, first responders and fans for their support and encouragement. “We express our overwhelming gratitude to the lifeguards and first responders who rescued Aryeh and to the Coast Guard, divers, fire and police personnel who helped in the effort to find Shad. Shad was a fighter, a warrior, and a magical soul,” she said.
Shad went missing on Sunday, May 17 as California began to reopen its beaches following the coronavirus outbreak. In his final act, he directed the lifeguards to save his son. He was 39 years old.