“This is Heartbreaking”- Goldberg, Chris Jericho and Many Reacts to Shad Gaspard’s Disappearances”
Shad Gaspard, 39, was caught in a rip current with his 10-year-old son, Aryeh. His last words were “just secure my son, rescue my son,” the authorities said.
The body of the former pro wrestler Shad Gaspard was found after it washed ashore on Venice Beach early Wednesday morning, the authorities said.
Mr. Gaspard, 39, was reported missing on Sunday, after he was swept out to sea by a rip current while swimming with his son, Aryeh, 10, according to the Los Angeles County Fire Department Lifeguard Division.
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 Los Angeles Police Department said. The body was later identified as Mr. Gaspard’s.
Initially, Mr. Gaspard and his son were swimming in waist-deep water, but conditions changed quickly, Kenichi Haskett, the section chief of the lifeguard division, said in an interview on Wednesday.
A lifeguard had noticed that the father and son were struggling in the water and set out to rescue them. Aryeh was closer to the shore, so the lifeguard was able to reach 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 Mr. 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.
The lifeguard brought the child to shore and ran back out to rescue Mr. Gaspard, who was struggling in five- to six-foot waves but still floating.
“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.” Mr. Gaspard did not resurface again.
Lifeguards began to search for Mr. Gaspard on Sunday but could not locate him. The search continued the next day 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, Chief Haskett said.
“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,” Siliana Gaspard, Mr. Gaspard’s wife, wrote in an Instagram post on Tuesday.
Mr. Gaspard was a member of the WWE’s Cryme Tyme duo. In 2008, the team partnered up with John Cena to help him with his rivalry with another wrestler named JBL. Mr. Gaspard was also an actor, appearing in “Get Hard” in 2015 with Kevin Hart and Will Ferrell, and “Black Panther” in 2018.
“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.”
Dwayne Johnson, who was also a wrestler, sent the Gaspard family his condolences on Twitter.
“Man, this is a tough one,” Mr. Johnson said. “A really tough one. Great guy.”