On May 17, former WWE star Shad Gaspard disappeared after he and his 10-year-old son were caught up in a riptide at Venice Beach. Authorities later confirmed his death on May 20, and now they have provided the cause of death. The coroners officially ruled that he drowned after disappearing in a riptide.
According to The Blast, the autopsy report confirms Gaspard's cause of death. The Los Angeles County Coroner's Office ruled that the death was an accident. The document also confirmed that Gaspard's last act was saving his son's life. He handed the 10-year-old to lifeguards and then disappeared from view. Search and Rescue crews were unable to locate him until his body washed ashore on Venice Beach on May 20.
The toxicology report also detected a small trace of alcohol in his system. However, the report said that "this may represent, in part or in entirety, to postmortem microbial activity." This statement provided confirmation that Gaspard was not drinking at the time of his death.
The former professional wrestler originally disappeared when he and his 10-year old son were caught in a riptide with a group of swimmers. Lifeguards went out to rescue the swimmers, but when they went for Gaspard, he reportedly told him to save his son first. Gaspard's son, Aryeh, and the other swimmers made it out of the water safely, but officials continued to look for the former pro wrestler. "When last seen by the lifeguard, a wave had crashed over Mr. Shad Gaspard and he was swept out to sea," the Los Angeles Police department said in a statement.
The search for Gaspard continued throughout the afternoon of May 17 and into the evening as the teams used rescue boats and helicopters. Authorities ultimately called off the search as darkness approached. Divers and Baywatch resumed the search on Monday morning with sonar but were unable to find Gaspard. The Coast Guard made the decision to officially suspend the search prior to the professional wrestler's body washing ashore.
Once authorities confirmed Gaspard's death, his friends and family members gathered for a memorial service. Over 500 people showed up for the ceremony, which took place on the beach where Gaspard originally disappeared. Bryan Alvarez, a fellow wrestler, posted a photo that showed the wrestler's name spelled out in flowers. Taya Valkyrie, another wrestler, posted photos of her own that showed several lit candles sitting in front of a photo of Gaspard.