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Gaspard was swimming with his 10-year-old son, Aryeh, when they and several other swimmers were caught in a strong rip current near Venice Beach in Los Angeles. Lifeguards were able to rescue Aryeh but Shad went missing after a wave crashed over him. Authorities found his body three days later.
His wife, Siliana Gaspard, issued a statement obtained by Fox News Thursday in which she both thanked everyone for their support and eulogized the late actor and athlete.
“Aryeh, myself and the Gaspard and Chittick families would like to take this time to thank everyone for their prayers and support, as we mourn the terrible loss of our beloved Shad,” the statement reads. “Shad was our whole world and we were his. There are not enough words to describe what he means to all of us. He was our heart, our soul, our protector, our warrior. He was a bright force of nature, who brought joy to many through his joyous and gracious nature.”
Siliana concluded: “The outpouring of love from Shad’s friends, colleagues and fans has meant more to us than you can even imagine. We’d like to once again thank the lifeguards, coast guard, divers, fire and police departments for their efforts. Shad was and will always be our real life super hero.”
Deputy Trina Schrader of the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department previously told Fox News that L.A. County lifeguards reported a surprising 100 rescues on Sunday, the day Gaspard went missing, due to rough waters caused by bad weather.
Gaspard rose to fame in the WWE as one half of the tag team group Cryme Time, along with his partner, JTG. He left the organization in 2010 and went on to have small roles in film and TV including a part in the 2015 Kevin Hart comedy “Get Hard.”
"WWE is saddened to learn that former WWE Superstar Shad Gaspard has passed away at the age of 39," the organization said in a statement.
Several of Shad’s colleagues in wrestling were quick to take to social media to honor him and share their condolences with his family.