LOS ANGELES — A body discovered on Venice Beach early Wednesday morning has been identified as former World Wrestling Entertainment pro Shad Gaspard, according to the Los Angeles Police Department. Gaspard disappeared days earlier after he was caught in a rip tide while swimming with his son.
Gaspard's 10-year-old son, Aryeh, was rescued and several other swimmers made it out of the water safely after they were caught in the strong currents Sunday afternoon at Venice Beach in Los Angeles.
The fire department said police summoned them to the beach early Wednesday to confirm that the adult male found lifeless was dead. The LAPD later confirmed the man was Gaspard.
Gaspard, 39, was about 50 yards from shore when he was last spotted, police said.
“When last seen by the lifeguard, a wave had crashed over Mr. Shad Gaspard and he was swept out to sea,” Los Angeles police said in a statement Monday.
His wife, Siliana Gaspard, issued a statement Tuesday thanking authorities and fans.
“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 said.
The statement added: “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 gained prominence in the WWE as one half of the tag-team group Cryme Time, along with his partner, JTG.
After retiring from the WWE in 2010, Gaspard has had small roles on TV and in movies, including the 2015 Kevin Hart comedy “Get Hard.”