Former WWE wrestler Shad Gaspard tragically drowned last Sunday while swimming with his son off a newly-reopened beach in Venice Beach, California. Now, details about Gaspard’s final moments have been made public as it’s been revealed he saved his son’s life before he died.
An eyewitness told Daily Mail that Gaspard, 39, threw his 10 year-old son Aryeh to safety after they were swept out to sea in a rip current.
“His main concern was the safety of his son. He did everything he could to protect his boy,” the witness said.
Kenichi Haskett, Section Chief with the Los Angeles County Fire Department, Lifeguard Services, said that “Aryeh was about ’25-35 yards out when the lifeguard rescued him.” By the time lifeguards got back to rescue Gaspard, the rip current had pulled him out an additional 50-65 yards, which meant he was almost 100 yards off shore.
“This all happened in just a moment’s notice,” Haskett said.
Gaspard was missing for three days before his body washed up on shore on Wednesday morning. His widow Siliana took to Instagram the next day to say that he was a “real life superhero” and “a bright force of nature, who brought joy to many.”
“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,” she wrote. “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,” she continued. “The outpouring of love from Shad’s friends, colleagues and fans has meant more to us than you can even imagine.”
Siliana went on to thank “the lifeguards, coast guard, divers, fire and police departments” who spent days searching for Gaspard before addressing him directly, saying, “I love you more, my love.”
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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. . . 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 brught joy to many through his joyous and gracious nature. . . 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. . . I love you more, my love ❤️ . . -Proudly, . Siliana Gaspard
Haskett said that rip currents can appear out of nowhere, and the most important thing to do when caught in one is to remain calm.
“Float on your back, go with the current, go out to sea, conserve your energy and when you are out there wave for help or if there is a surfer nearby, let the surfer know that you need help and then the lifeguard will come out and get you,” he said. “Whatever you can do to calm your family member, your spouse, child, just encourage them to relax, float, ‘stay with me,’ whatever you can do in a very tumultuous, scary situation.”
“You can dog paddle, but it’s easier to stay afloat on your back and rest in the water with your head laid back,” he continued. “Don’t fight the current or swim against it. It’s like being on a treadmill, you won’t get anywhere and you will tire easily.”
Gaspard was best known as a member of the wrestling duo Cryme Tyme with fellow WWE star JTG. After leaving the WWE in 2010, he launched a successful acting career, appearing in movies like Think Like A Man Too and the 2015 Kevin Hart comedy, Get Hard.
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