The body of former professional wrestler Shad Gaspard has been identified by Los Angeles County authorities after it went missing Sunday, May 17. While swimming with his 10-year-old son Aryeh at Marina del Rey, Gaspard was caught in strong currents. The Los Angeles County coroner identified his body on Wednesday, May 20.
Gaspard’s body washed up ashore at Venice Beach, where someone noticed the body before contacting law enforcement. The Los Angeles Fire Department held a press conference after the body was identified to provide an update.
Gaspard, who was 39, got caught in a rip current, as ESPN reports, and told lifeguards to help his son get to safety first. The guards couldn’t locate Gaspard when they returned, which led to an almost two-day search before officials called off the search.
“When last seen by the lifeguard, a wave had crashed over Mr. Shad Gaspard and he was swept out to sea,” said police. Gaspard reportedly was 50 yards from shore when the lifeguard spotted him.
Los Angeles County reopened beaches the second week of May after they were closed as part of efforts to keep down the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Some who are reportedly friends and family of Gaspard gathered at Venice Beach after his body was identified. They were seen hugging, and one person walked into the ocean.
Gaspard began wrestling professionally in 2002 before he entered the WWE four years later as one-half of the tag team duo Cryme Tyme with partner JTG.
The late wrestler retired from the WWE in 2010 and held some acting roles. He had a minor part in Kevin Hart’s 2015 film “Get Hard.” He also appeared in the film “Think Like a Man Too.”
Before becoming a professional wrestler, Gaspard played basketball at Georgia Perimeter College and was a bodyguard for people like Sean “Diddy” Combs and Mike Tyson.
He’s survived by Aryeh and his wife Siliana Gaspard, who wrote a message on Instagram before his body was discovered.
“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,” she wrote on Tuesday, May 19.
On that same day, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson sent a message. Gaspard had shared a photo of him and Johnson on his Instagram page earlier this month.
“My prayers and hope for Shad Gaspard’s wife, son and family during this unthinkable time,” tweeted Johnson. “Man, this is a tough one. A really tough one. Great guy.”