WWE star Shad Gaspard‘s body was found on Wednesday, May 20, three days after he went missing while swimming at Venice Beach.
Los Angeles County Fire Department’s Lifeguard Division confirmed Wednesday morning that the unidentified body that washed up on shore earlier that day belonged to Gaspard, according to CBS Los Angeles reporter Tina Patel. The wrestling pro was 39.
Gaspard, his 10-year-old son, Aryeh, and several other swimmers were caught in a strong riptide while going for a swim around 4 p.m. on Sunday. Lifeguards acted quickly to save the swimmers and Gaspard asked them to save his son first before saving himself, witnesses told TMZ.
Lifeguards were able to save his son, who did not require hospitalization, but were unable to find Gaspard after a big wave crashed down on him. The family was spending the day in Marina del Rey as Southern California beaches began to reopen amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Kenichi Haskett of the L.A. County Lifeguard Division confirmed the tragic news to The Daily Mail on Monday.
“We had one of our lifeguards go out to make a double rescue of a father and a son,” Haskett said. “The father unfortunately got pushed down by a wave as they were getting pulled out of the current. The lifeguard rescued and grabbed the boy, the son, and tried to grab the father as well.”
The U.S. Coast Guard began an exhaustive search for the athlete but were forced to suspend operations on Tuesday morning. Gaspard’s family issued a statement later that day praying for his safe return.
“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,” the statement read. “Shad is a fighter, a warrior and a magical soul. We are hoping and praying for his safe return. As a family we thank you all for your concern and well wishes. Please continue to keep sending your positivity and prayers to our beloved Shad.”
Gaspard is survived by his wife, Siliana Gaspard, and their son, Aryeh.