Shad Gaspard – Drowning
1981-2020 (Age 39)
Former WWE wrestler Shad Gaspard has died. He was 39.
Gaspard, known for his WWE run in the mid to late 2000s with tag partner, JTG, collectively formed the tag team Cryme Tyme.
Details on the Death of Shad Gaspard
On Sunday, May 17th, Gaspard was enjoying an afternoon at Marina del Ray beach with his family – wife Siliana, and 10-year-old son, Aryeh.
A strong rip current pulled many swimmers away from the shore, including Shad and his son. Lifeguards were on the scene, and reportedly Shad instructed them to go after his son first.
According to ESPN, the lifeguard, who also has a middle school-aged son, was presented with an excruciating dilemma as he recognized how big Shad was – 6 foot 6 inches, around 270 pounds…
“Based on the gentlemen’s size and the conditions in the water… these are choices we do not want to make.” said Kenichi Haskett, Section Chief of the LA County Fire Department’s Lifeguard Division.
The lifeguard reported that Shad told him to rescue his son first. “Take my son,” Shad said.
By this point, Shad and his son were 250 yards from the shore, about 200 yards north of where they were first spotted in danger.
WrestlingInc adds, “The lifeguard attempted to deliver a rescue can (small buoy-like device to tow distressed swimmers back to shore) to Shad and his son, but the boy was unable to secure it due to the size of the waves.”
Fortunately, lifeguards were still able to save 10-year-old Aryeh, bringing him safely to shore within three minutes. The boy was physically unharmed, but deeply distraught.
“Dad told me to push off to the guy,” Shad’s son told Steve Smith, a firefighter-paramedic from Rescue 63 in Venice. Shad’s son kept saying that: “Dad told me to push off to the guy.”
Haskett goes on to describe what transpired after the lifeguard rescued Shad’s son:
The lifeguard then turned back to make a quick return to the ocean, and saw Shad again.
“A wave pushed him under in the impact zone,” said Haskett. “He didn’t resurface after that.”
“The best way I can describe it is like being inside a front-loading washing machine. The waves keep crashing on you, pushing you down. I’ve been through that, those kind of rescues. You think you might die.”
Rescue divers went in after Shad, but could not locate him.
Rescue efforts continued the following morning, May 18th, with no success. By Tuesday, May 19th, the search was called off by the coast guard.
An Unfortunate Ending
Around 1:30am on Wednesday, May 20th, a jogger discovered a body near the Venice Beach pier. The L.A. County coroner’s office confirmed it was the body of Shad Gaspard.
Strong rip currents are a common occurrence at local beaches in the area, and over the course of the weekend, lifeguards reportedly made over 400 rescues in the area due to weather conditions, notably strong wind.
The current was fast and the swells were 6 feet.
Local beaches were also busier than usual due to recent lifts in L.A. county restrictions from the covid-19 pandemic.
Life Before and After Wrestling
Prior to wrestling, the 6’6, 250+ pound Shad Gaspard was a body guard for high-profile celebrity clients, including Mike Tyson, Britney Spears, and P. Diddy.
Following his release from the WWE in 2010, Gaspard focused on his acting career. Shad’s IMDb profile credits him with several roles in television and film throughout the last decade, including a role in 2015’s Get Hard, starring Will Ferrell and Kevin Hart.
In 2016, Gaspard was once again making heroic-headlines, this time breaking up an armed robbery in Coral Springs, Florida.
Shad Gaspard Tributes
Social media has been abuzz since Shad went missing. The hashtag #RIPShadGaspard is currently trending worldwide on Twitter.
Sacrificing yourself to save your child. The true definition of a hero.#RIPShadGaspard 🙏🏼
— Kip Sabian (@TheKipSabian) May 20, 2020
WWE is saddened to learn that former WWE Superstar Shad Gaspard has passed away at the age of 39. https://t.co/ngyuRpkjps
— WWE (@WWE) May 20, 2020
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
My heart is heavy praying for the entire Gaspard’s family pic.twitter.com/3VGbptAHbn
— Trinity Fatu (@NaomiWWE) May 20, 2020
I join fans around the world as we remember Shad Gaspard as a beloved performer and a caring father. In absolutely tragic circumstances, please keep his loved ones in your thoughts. https://t.co/JibfmJJMcC
— Triple H (@TripleH) May 20, 2020
Saddened to hear the news of the passing of the “The Beast” Shad Gaspard. A hero even to the end, my thoughts and prayers are with his family at this time. A great man in this world, you will be sorely missed. Rest In Peace, my friend.
— Shane McMahon (@shanemcmahon) May 20, 2020
Sadly, Shad Gaspard also joins many other former pro wrestlers who passed away before age 40.
Shad is survived by his wife Siliana Gaspard, and their son, Aryeh Gaspard.
Our condolences to Shad’s friends and family.