Former pro wrestler Shad Gaspard’s body was found after it washed ashore on Venice Beach on Wednesday morning, according to the Los Angeles County Fire Department Lifeguard Division.
Gaspard, 39, went missing on Sunday after he was swept out to sea by a rip current while swimming with his 10-year-old son, Aryeh, the authorities said.
The LAPD said, “around 1:25 a.m. on Wednesday, a police officer was flagged down by a person reporting that a body had washed ashore on the beach.” The police later found that it was Gaspard’s body.
Gaspard and his son were swimming in waist-deep water; however, conditions started to change quickly, according to Kenichi Haskett, the section chief of the lifeguard division.
The authorities said that a lifeguard had noticed that the father and son were struggling in the water and immediately called for a rescue team. Aryeh was much closer to the shore so the lifeguard was able to reach him first.
Haskett said, “The lifeguard went out on a two-person rescue in that rip current, 75 yards offshore,” adding that Gaspard had seen the lifeguard and pointed him to Aryeh.
“His last few words were ‘just secure my son, rescue my son,’” according to Haskett.
The lifeguard was able to bring the child to shore. He ran back to rescue Gaspard who was struggling in around 5- to 6-foot waves but still floating.
Haskett said, “In 60 seconds, the lifeguard went back out to go get Shad. He saw him and then a wave came and pushed him under.” Gaspard did not resurface again.
On Sunday, lifeguards began to search for Gaspard but could not find him. The next day, the lifeguards continued searing for Gaspard with divers and sonar equipment.
“On Tuesday, the Coast Guard called off its search, but the Los Angeles County Lifeguards continued to look for Mr. Gaspard,” Haskett said.
Gaspard’s wife, Siliana Gaspard, wrote on Instagram on Tuesday, “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.”
Gaspard was a member of the WWE’s Cryme Tyme duo. He was also an actor who appeared in “Get Hard” in 2015 along with Kevin Hart and Will Ferrell. He also appeared in “Black Panther” in 2018.
WWE said in a statement, “WWE is saddened to learn that former WWE Superstar Shad Gaspard has passed away at the age of 39. Admired by friends and colleagues for his warmth and humor, Gaspard was no stranger to heroic deeds.”
Dwayne Johnson, who was also a WWE wrestler, tweeted, “Man, this is a tough one. A really tough one. Great guy.”