Former WWE star Shad Gaspard has been found dead on a California beach — a few days after he was swept out to sea while swimming in the ocean with his son.
A body discovered early Wednesday morning along Venice Beach was identified by authorities as Gaspard, local outlet KTLA reported. The Los Angeles Police Department said a passerby reported finding a body on the beach around 1:30 a.m. Wednesday.
An investigator from the Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office later identified the body as Gaspard, 39, and notified next of kin, police said.
On Sunday, Gaspard was swimming with his son about 50 yards out from Venice Beach when they were caught in an apparent rip tide and required rescue. Los Angeles County lifeguards dove into the waters to assist the swimmers and were able to rescue the 10-year-old boy.
Lifeguard Chief Ken Haskett told NBC News that a rescuer tried to pull both Gaspard and his son to safety.
"He was going to try to rescue both," he said. "But the father, in his last few words, said, 'Save my son.' "
Gaspard was ultimately swept away after being struck by a large wave. The boy did not require medical treatment after being rescued.
The Coast Guard spent the rest of Sunday looking for Gaspard before calling off the search at sundown. The search resumed Monday and Tuesday with no success, KTLA reported.
Gaspard was once part of the famous WWE tag team known as “Cryme Tyme” along with wrestling partner JTG. The duo debuted in 2006.
On Monday, JTG took to Twitter to share a previous conversation seemingly between Gaspard and himself.
It appears that Gaspard sent JTG a message in January saying “If ever I die tomorrow just know I love you as a brother and friend for ever, even past this life.”
The WWE mourned Gaspard in a statement released on Wednesday.
"Admired by friends and colleagues for his warmth and humor, Gaspard was no stranger to heroic deeds," the statement read. "In 2016, he broke up an armed robbery in Coral Springs, Fla., pinning the suspect to the ground until police arrived. Gaspard was also a multitalented individual, creating his own graphic novel and acting in several TV shows and films, including “Brothers” and “Think Like a Man Too.”"
"WWE extends its condolences to Gaspard’s family, friends and fans," the statement concluded.
Gaspard left the WWE in 2010 to pursue an acting career. His credits include the 2018 film “The Last Sharknado: It’s About Time,” and the television series “From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series,” according to IMDb.
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