WWE's Shad Gaspard dies saving his son

Shad GaspardImage source, Paul Archuleta
Image caption,
The former wrestler reportedly told lifeguards to save his son first

The body of former WWE star Shad Gaspard has been found on Venice Beach in Los Angeles after he went missing while swimming with his son.

The 39-year-old got caught in a rip tide with 10-year-old Aryeh on May 17.

His son was rescued but lifeguards couldn't save Shad.

"Shad drowned in the ocean," posted Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, "but not before instructing lifeguards to save his son first. That's the love of a father."

He goes on to say Shad was a "great guy" and offered his "deepest condolences and love to his wife, son and family".

"This one hurts," he adds.

Shad's wife Siliana had thanked the authorities for rescuing her son as the search continued for her husband. "Shad is a fighter, a warrior and a magical soul. We are hoping and praying for his safe return."

But at 2.19am on Wednesday, lifeguards responded to reports of a body along the Venice beach shoreline in LA.

Later coroners confirmed it was Shad.

"I join fans around the world as we remember Shad Gaspard as a beloved performer and a caring father," tweeted WWE icon Triple H.

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The 6ft 7in wrestler, originally known as Da Beast featured in Tag team Cryme Tyme with partner JTG.

"Not the ending we wanted to hear," posted fellow wrestler Tyrus. "We can now mourn and celebrate his life as the hero the father the "beast".

"You are the definition of what it's meant to be a father, you gave your life without hesitation to save your son."

After leaving WWE ten years ago, Shad Gaspard pursued an acting career in TV and films and had small roles in various movies including 2015's Get Hard with Kevin Hart and Will Ferrell.

WWE legend Dave Bautista cried as his paid tribute: "He liked to walk into a room and cause a ruckus - he was that dude, he was bigger than life."

He'd last seen him on the red carpet of the MTV awards: "I feel like he was just starting to make headway with films and now he's gone and he won't ever have the chance to live out his dreams.

"You should be inspired by his journey and inspired by his final sacrifice."

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