SevenAuthorities confirmed the death of former WWE star Shad Gaspard on Wednesday, days after he disappeared at Venice Beach. Two days later, his wife, Siliana, held a memorial with several friends, family members and some fans. The ceremony took place at sunset at the site where Gaspard originally disappeared while swimming with his 10-year-old son.
Bryan Alvarez, a fellow wrestler, posted a photo that showed several attendees posing next to Gaspard's name spelled out in flowers. He said that "over 500 people" showed up for the sunset ceremony to honor the wrestler's memory. Another wrestler, Taya Valkyrie, posted photos of her own that showed several lit candles in front of Gaspard's photo. She said that this week "has been extremely hard," but came together to remember the 39-year-old.
Shad Gaspard's heartbroken wife and father stage candlelit memorial for the WWE star on Venice Beach where he risked his life to save his son. Shad's family gathered for a memorial on the beach Friday night as the sun set over the sand. Mourners comforted Shad's devastated widow pic.twitter.com/A27xQxGNhA— Lilian Chan (@bestgug) May 23, 2020
In addition to holding the memorial on Friday evening, friends of the Gaspard family created a GoFundMe campaign to help raise funds. They set the initial goal at $100,000 and topped it in fewer than 12 hours. Several of Gaspard's peers pitched in a considerable amount of money including, AEW co-founder Tony Khan, Cody and Brandi Rhodes and Chris Jericho.
"As many of you have heard on Sunday (May 17th) tragedy hit as Shad Gaspard went swimming with his son Aryeh — when they got caught in a riptide," the campaign description reads. "When the lifeguards went to rescue them, Shad made the ultimate sacrifice and told them to save his son instead. Family meant everything to Shad so we want to do anything we can to love and support them during this difficult time."
The purpose of the GoFundMe is to raise funds to help Siliana cover bills/expenses and their son Aryeh's future college fund. So far, 746 have donated and helped reach the goal, including someone that made a significant donation. One anonymous user pledged $40,000 for the campaign under the name CTC RIP.
GoFundMe did not reveal the donor's identity, but there were many wrestling fans that had a theory. They believe that the anonymous user is actually WWE star John Cena. The reason for this belief is that CTC stands for Cryme Tyme Cenation, which was a short-lived WWE group from 2008 featuring Gaspard, JTG and Cena.