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Shad Gaspard Dead at 39: Former WWE Star Dies After Going Missing While Swimming at Venice Beach

Shad Gaspard was found dead on Wednesday, May 20, after being the subject of a search effort after going missing on Sunday, May 17. He was 39.

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Lifeguards from the Los Angeles County Fire Department confirmed via Twitter on Wednesday morning that a body matching Gaspard’s description was found on the shore of Venice Beach. The U.S. Coast Guard had suspended their search one day prior after “covering 70 square nautical miles and seven search patterns” in nearly 17 hours.

The former WWE star was reported missing on Sunday after he went swimming at Venice Beach in Los Angeles. Lifeguards on the scene were unable to retrieve him from the water.

An official from the Los Angeles Fire Department confirmed to Us Weekly that units reported to the scene at 4 p.m. to aid in the search. Gaspard and his 10-year-old son “were caught up in a possible rip current and couldn’t swim back,” but one of the lifeguards “swam out and rescued” the athlete’s son. However, they were unable to locate Gaspard.

Shad Gaspard Dead at 39 After Going Missing at Venice Beach
Shad Gaspard MediaPunch/Shutterstock

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“The 10-year-old son was evaluated and he was okay,” the LAFD official told Us on Monday, May 18. “The coast guard helicopter, LA County Fire Boat and LA County Sheriff boat were all on the scene. LAFD was on the scene for 4-5 hours.”

Gaspard’s wife, Siliana Gaspard, confirmed the news of his disappearance in an Instagram Story post on Monday. She shared a shirtless photo of the professional athlete on the beach along with information about how her followers could help track down his whereabouts.

“Missing!!! Last seen wearing swim shorts,” she wrote at the time. “If you have seen Shad, please message me. Please don’t flood me asking what happened. We want to know if he’s been seen and where. Thank you.”

One day later, she shared a statement thanking the city’s officials who were still working hard to retrieve her husband.

“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,” she wrote via Instagram on Tuesday alongside a black and white photo of the athlete. “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.”

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As a WWE wrestler, Shad worked alongside Jayson Anthony Paul (a.k.a. JTG) as part of the tag team Cryme Tyme. In 2008, the pair teamed up to help John Cena win his match against John Layfield (a.k.a. JBL) and his crew on WWE Raw.

The Brooklyn-born star made his last WWE appearance on WWE SmackDown! in November 2010, during which he won a match against Jesse Guyver.

Since parting ways with the wrestling world, Shad tried his hand at acting. Not only did he pop up on several TV shows, but he also made appearances in major films including Black Panther, Get Hard and Think Like a Man Too.

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