Former WWE wrestler Shad Gaspard urged a lifeguard to save his young son and pushed him toward the rescuer as he was swept out to sea, days before Gaspard’s body washed ashore.
Los Angeles County lifeguards said a body discovered early Wednesday on Venice Beach matched the description of the ex-pro wrestler, who disappeared on Sunday after his heroic final actions helped save his son. LA police confirmed the body was Gaspard’s, TV station KABC reported. The medical examiner would determine the cause of death.
Gaspard’s 10-year-old son, Aryeh, was rescued during Sunday’s drama. The Coast Guard on Tuesday called off a massive search for Gaspard, 39.
“When last seen by the lifeguard, a wave had crashed over Mr. Shad Gaspard and he was swept out to sea,” police said in a statement, per KTLA.
Gaspard and his son were pulled away from the shore by a powerful riptide. A lifeguard saw them struggling and raced into the water.
“He was going to try to rescue both,” lifeguard section Chief Ken Haskett told NBC News. “But the father, in his last few words, said, ‘Save my son.’”
Gaspard then pushed his son to the lifeguard and disappeared.
“He got pushed back down under a wave and that’s the last he’s been seen,” Haskett said.
WWE mourned Gaspard’s death.
His wife, Siliana Gaspard, wrote Tuesday that she was praying for his return and expressed gratitude for their son’s rescue.
Venice Beach was open Sunday as lockdown restrictions for the coronavirus pandemic were eased.
Gaspard gained popularity in the WWE with partner JTG in tag-team Cryme Time before retiring in 2010, the Los Angeles Times noted. Gaspard has appeared in small roles on TV and the big screen, including 2018′s “The Last Sharknado: It’s About Time” and the 2015 Kevin Hart comedy “Get Hard.”