When authorities confirmed Shad Gaspard's death on Wednesday, wrestling fans and peers alike offered their condolences to the late wrestler's family. Many others reminisced about his matches in WWE. Roman Reigns was among this group, and he spoke about Gaspard's kindness during their brief time together.
Reigns initially responded to someone that posted footage from early in his career. He was wrestling in FCW (Florida Championship Wrestling) at the time under the name of Roman Leakee. He faced off with Gaspard in the match, a relative newcomer against the wrestling veteran. Reigns said that his opponent was unhappy at the time, but this did not affect their relationship.
"My very first match on FCW TV. Shad was unhappy during these times, but he was still kind to me and took good care of me," Reigns tweeted on Wednesday. "We rode to a couple towns together and he shared stories of his road experiences and his friendship with my cousin Umaga/Eki. Now they rest together."
Many wrestling fans watched this highlight video and saw Reigns' response. They expressed sadness about Gaspard's death but wanted to remember his impact on others during his life. Several referred to the late wrestler as a "beautiful soul."
"I actually watched that match the other day. You both were amazing and that's an incredible experience that you shared with Shad. I'm sending so much of my love and condolences towards his family and friends right now," one wrestling fan wrote on Wednesday.
Gaspard was swimming at Venice Beach with his 10-year-old son on Sunday when a rip current caught several swimmers. Lifeguards ran into the water to save the swimmers, but the late wrestler reportedly told them to save his son first. A wave crashed over him and he disappeared, prompting a search.0comments
Rescue boats, helicopters and divers continued to search for Gaspard on Sunday but authorities called them off in the evening. The efforts resumed on Monday morning, but divers and Baywatch could not locate Gaspard. Authorities ultimately called off the search shortly before Gaspard's body washed up on the beach.
WWE and many professional wrestlers have reacted to Gaspard's confirmed death by sending their condolences to his family. Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson was among this group, and he praised Gaspard's efforts to protect his son. He said that the warrior spirit lives on.