Shad Gaspard has been found dead after he went missing following a swim at Venice Beach in California on Sunday. He was 39.
The Los Angeles County Coroner's Office confirms to ET that the body that washed ashore overnight is that of Gaspard. An examination is pending.
Los Angeles Fire Department’s Brian Humphrey said in a press conference that officers were called to Lifeguard Tower 26 located on Venice Beach at about 1:45 a.m. after a man, who has now been identified as Gaspard, was found lifeless by two people 15 minutes prior. Gaspard's body was found about half a mile north of where he was last seen.
Family members showing up at Venice Beach after a body washes up on shore, almost 3 days and less than a mile away from the spot where former @WWE wrestling star Shad Gaspard went missing in the water. @FOXLA@GDLA@LAPDHQ 🙏🏽💔 pic.twitter.com/Xorpas4reW
The former WWE star and his 10-year-old son were among swimmers caught in a riptide at the popular tourist spot around 4 p.m. on Sunday, according to multiple reports. At the time, an eyewitness told TMZ that once lifeguards rushed to rescue swimmers, Gaspard instructed them to help his son before helping him. They successfully rescued the young boy, but another large wave is said to have crashed onto Gaspard.
In a statement on Thursday, Gaspard's wife, Siliana Gaspard, thanked 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," she said. "He was a bright force of nature, who brought 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," she continued. "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."
Prior to ending his wrestling career in 2010, Gaspard was a a major star of the WWE, as one-half of tag team Cryme Tyme -- with his partner Jayson Anthony Paul, a.k.a. JTG. He also appeared in movies, including Think Like a Man Too.