Former WWE Wrestler Shad Gaspard's Body Found, Washed Ashore In Venice Beach
Former WWE pro wrestler Shad Gaspard went swimming with his son Sunday afternoon at Venice Beach — and his body was found early this morning, according to the Los Angeles Police Department. Gaspard and his 10-year-old son Aryeh had been caught in strong rip currents — lifeguards saved the boy, but Gaspard was pulled under and swept out to sea. Gaspard was 39 years old.
"[The lifeguard] was going to try to rescue both," L.A. County Fire Department lifeguard chief Ken Haskett said. "But the father, in his last few words, said, 'Save my son.'"
Gaspard pushed his son toward the lifeguard before he was pushed back underwater himself, according to Haskett.
The 6'7" Gaspard had two separate runs in WWE as part of the tag team "Cryme Tyme," with partner JTG, between 2006 and 2010. He continued to wrestle on smaller independent shows after being released from WWE — Gaspard and JTG continued wrestling together until Gaspard's death.
The character received criticism for the stereotypical portrayal of the two black athletes as criminals, but Gaspard embraced the role and became a fan favorite.
Before going into pro wrestling, Gaspard played basketball at Georgia Perimeter College and worked as a bodyguard for Britney Spears, P. Diddy, and Mike Tyson. He'd been pursuing an acting career since leaving WWE, appearing in shows like Key & Peele and From Dusk till Dawn, along with movies like the Last Sharknado and doing stunts in the recent Birds of Prey. He even served as the physical model for the massive lead in 2018's God of War video game.
He talked about his acting inspirations in a screen test, including dropping a Shakespeare monologue and telling the story of when his Shakespearean skills were doubted in an audition:
He was well-liked, according to both fans and colleagues.
My prayers and hope for Shad Gaspard’s wife, son and family during this unthinkable time. Man, this is a tough one. A really tough one.— Dwayne Johnson (@TheRock) May 20, 2020
The Los Angeles Fire Department responded to the area of Lifeguard Tower 26 just before 2 a.m. Wednesday morning, where they found Gaspard's body.
He's survived by his wife Siliana and son Aryeh.