Wednesday morning, authorities confirmed the death of former WWE star Shad Gaspard after his body washed up on Venice Beach. Many fans and peers had grown concerned in the in days following his disappearance and were saddened to see confirmation. Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson has since reacted to the news and sent his condolences to the family.
The longtime wrestler-turned-actor posted a photo on Instagram Wednesday that showed him with Gaspard. They were posing together in suits at an event for Jumanji. Like Johnson, the former member of Cryme Tyme departed WWE in pursuit of an acting career. He appeared in several projects, including Sandy Wexler, From Dusk till Dawn: The Series and Brothers. Gaspard also performed stunts in DC's Birds of Prey.
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"This one hurts. Great guy. My deepest condolences and love to Shad Gaspard's wife, son and family," Johnson wrote on Instagram. "Shad drowned in the ocean, but not before instructing lifeguards to save his 10yr old son first. That's the love of a father. This is a tough one to process. Love and light to Shad's family. And your warrior spirit lives on through your son."
Gaspard disappeared on Sunday when he and his 10-year-old son were swimming at Venice Beach. A rip current caught a group of swimmers. Lifeguards went into the water to rescue Gaspard and the others, but he reportedly told them to save his son first. The Los Angeles Police Department said that a wave "crashed over" Gaspard and swept him out to sea.
The search for the former wrestler continued on Sunday afternoon and into the evening with rescue boats and helicopters, but authorities called it off as darkness approached. Divers and Baywatch resumed the search on Monday morning with sonar but were unable to find Gaspard. The Coast Guard ultimately suspended the search before his body washing ashore.
"WWE is saddened to learn that former WWE Superstar Shad Gaspard has passed away at the age of 39," WWE said in a statement Wednesday. "Admired by friends and colleagues for his warmth and humor, Gaspard was no stranger to heroic deeds. In 2016, he broke up an armed robbery in Coral Springs, [Florida], pinning the suspect to the ground until police arrived... WWE extends its condolences to Gaspard's family, friends and fans."