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Tributes paid as ex-WWE star Shad Gaspard dies trying to save son

Richie McCormack
Richie McCormack

21:25 20 May 2020

Former WWE superstar Shad Gaspard has been confirmed dead at the age of 39.

He had been missing since Sunday afternoon when he was swept out to sea at Venice Beach, California.

Gaspard, and his 10-year old son Aryeh became caught in dangerous rip currents in the waters.

Lifeguards were able to rescue Aryeh, but Gaspard was carried under the water.

When last seen alive, Gaspard was 50-yards from shore, and a lifeguard attempted to rescue both he and his son.

"He was going to try to rescue both," L.A. County Fire Department, Lifeguard Section Chief Ken Haskett told NBC. "But the father, in his last few words, said, 'Save my son'".

Gaspard pushed his son towards the lifeguard, before "he got pushed back down under a wave and that's the last he's been seen," Haskett added.

LA County Lifeguards discovered a body early on Wednesday morning matching Gaspard's description.

"It's a tragic outcome absolutely, but it does bring some closure for the family," said A.J. Lester with the L.A. County Lifeguards.

Before confirmation came of his death, Gaspard's wife Siliana wrote on Instagram, "Shad is a fighter, a warrior and a magical soul", while thanking first responders.

Gaspard came to wrestling via the second season of WWE's reality show Tough Enough in 2002.

He was later headhunted to join the WWE's then developmental company, OVW.

Gaspard would gain wider fame as part of the WWE's main roster. He was one half of Cryme Tyme, a tag-team with JTG (Jason Anthony Paul).

A staple of Monday Night Raw for nearly a year, Cryme Tyme were released in September 2007, before being rehired six months later.

He was eventually released again in 2010 and would work for a period on the independent circuit.

In more recent years he had turned to acting and had a part in the Kevin Hart/Will Ferrell 2015 movie Get Hard.

The world of wrestling has been united in tribute for a man who has been called a "hero" and an "amazing soul".

Triple H (Paul Levesque) described Gaspard as "a beloved performer and a caring father".

Former ECW champion and current AEW commentator Taz added, "Shad died a hero, saving his son’s life.

"As a parent, there are no words to even explain that. He was a really positive & funny guy every time we spoke, just a good dude."

Before his passing, his former tag partner JTG shared a warm text exchange between the two.

While current WWE performer Natalya Neidhart said, "The world has lost a wonderful human being. Shad Gaspard was a true HERO in every sense of the word."

 

 

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Cryme Tyme ECW JTG OVW Shad Gaspard Taz WWE

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