Shad Gaspard, actor and former WWE Superstar, was found dead at Venice Beach early Wednesday morning three days after he had disappeared while swimming with his 10-year-old son at Marina del Rey beach. He was 39. Gaspard and his son were swimming mid-Sunday afternoon when a riptide pulled the pair hundreds of yards away from the shore. A rescue team jumped into action, but unfortunately due to the waves they were only able to retrieve one person at a time. Gaspard told them to save him son first, and before the team could go back to retrieve him he was submerged by a large wave. A search party was then launched to look for him, but by Tuesday morning the US Coast Guard had suspended its search.
Gaspard first stepped into the world of professional wrestling as a competitor on the second season of Tough Enough. He was then recruited by WWE talent scout Tom Prichard and trained under both Sgt. Dwayne Bruce and Prichard before beginning full-time training at Ohio Valley Wrestling. In 2006 he made the jump to WWE's main roster as one half of the Cryme Tyme tag team alongside JTG. The pair were released in September 2007, then brought back to the company in March 2008 and continued to wrestle as a pair up until late 2010. He continued to wrestle on the independent circuit up through this past January and started up a career in acting, performing small roles in movies like Get Hard, Brothers and Birds of Prey (where he performed stunts during fight scenes) and in television shows like Big Time Rush, Key & Peele, From Dusk till Dawn: The Series and In the Cut.
Gaspard is survived by his his wife, Siliana Gaspard, and their son Aryeh.
WWE has since released a statement regarding his passing, which partially reads, "WWE is saddened to learn that former WWE Superstar Shad Gaspard has passed away at the age of 39," the statement on WWE.com read. "... Admired by friends and colleagues for his warmth and humor, Gaspard was no stranger to heroic deeds. In 2016, he broke up an armed robbery in Coral Springs, Fla., pinning the suspect to the ground until police arrived. Gaspard was also a multitalented individual, creating his own graphic novel and acting in several TV shows and films, including 'Brothers' and 'Think Like a Man Too.' WWE extends its condolences to Gaspard's family, friends and fans."