Former WWE Champion and Guardians of the Galaxy star Dave Bautista (aka Batista) took to Instagram on Wednesday with tears in his eyes as he gave a tribute to Shad Gaspard, who was declared dead after his body was found in Venice Beach earlier that morning. Both Gaspard and Batista trained in Ohio Valley Wrestling before making the jump to WWE's main roster, and after he left the company in 2010 Gaspard started up his own acting career much like "The Animal."
"Anybody who knows me knows that I am not a person to mourn publicly," he said. "That's just not my way. That's not the way I do things, not the way I handle things. But I thought it was worth mentioning Shad Gaspard today. I've been sitting here all day trying to figure out why this is bothering me so much, because Shad and I, we weren't super close. I don't want to make pretenses like we were. I've known him since 2006 and we've had some great times on the road and we would talk here and there. I'd see him all the time at Gold's (Gym), everybody who knows him knows he was a common face at Gold's, lifting people up and telling big stories."
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Batista admitted the two had very different personalities, then said he figured out why Gaspard's sudden death made him so emotional.
"I figured it out, and this is what I'll share with you. This is what I knew about Shad — Shad was a dream chaser. He went after everything he was passionate about in his life," he continued. "Wrestling, films — last time I saw him he was on the red carpet of the MTV Awards and couldn't have been any more proud to be apart of Birds of Prey and we talked about it. And he was so happy, I don't think he wanted to leave the red carpet. ... I feel like he was just starting to make headway in films and now he's gone. And he won't ever have a chance to live out his dreams. And that bothers the s— of out me. So, if there's anything that I can share with you about the loss of Shad Gaspard, it's that dude was a dream chaser, you should be inspired by his journey and inspired by his final sacrifice. I send my thoughts and prayers to his family and all of my friends and his friends who are hurting over his loss.
"I do know that the world is not a better place today," he concluded.