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By Mike Johnson on 2020-05-20 11:47:00

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While everyone was obviously holding out for a miracle, unfortunately, it is not to be.  NBC Los Angeles' Daniella Guzman reported this morning that, sadly, a body matching the description of former WWE star Shad Gaspard has been discovered in Venice, CA:

Lifeguards later confirmed to CBS Los Angeles' Tina Patel that the body, found at 1:46 AM local time, matches Gaspard's description.

Gaspard's death was soon officially announced, bringing a tragic end to his life that has left everyone who knew him absolutely heartbroken.

Gaspard and his son were among a group of swimmers caught in a strong rip current at 3:56 PM local time Sunday off Venice Beach, pulled 200 feet from shore. 

In his last act, Gaspard asked that his ten year old son be rescued first by Baywatch lifeguards.  His son was assisted by the lifeguards but Gaspard was not seen again after being pulled under by another big wave.  A search continued until being called off at 7:30 PM Sunday night, although periodic watch was kept from the shore.  Underwater searching using sonar and divers as well as searches from the air via helicopter resumed yesterday.

A native of Brooklyn, NY Gaspard, 39, was signed to a WWF developmental deal in 2002 after initially trying out for the second season of their MTV reality series Tough Enough.  He didn't make the cut for the series but was given guidance about where to train, including time with Tom Prichard and Sgt.  Buddy Lee Parker.  Gaspard moved to Louisville, Kentucky, bouncing with other future WWE stars as they trained as pro wrestler and worked towards their mutual goal of getting a WWE deal. 

Originally debuting as "Da Beast", a nickname that remained with him in pro wrestling forever, Gaspard worked as the bodyguard to perennial OVW heel manager Kenny Bolin and teamed with Carly Colon (Carlito).  He was signed officially to a WWE developmental deal within a year of debuting.  Gaspard was put together with The Neighborhoodie (more famously known now as JTG) as a team after Gaspard had a short feud with CM Punk in OVW.   

The roots of Cryme Tyme was born in OVW with the team being called up in late 2006 with a series of vignettes that presented them as a fun-loving, over the top team that tapped into urban culture.  They were an immediate hit as an act for live audiences, who loved their promos and energy as well as the team stealing items from heels to then give them away to fans in arena or "selling them off" in vignettes - stealing title belts, cars, clothing, etc.  They were pushed hard, even teaming with John Cena and the act was easily getting over.  Since they were from NYC, they would routinely get one of the biggest pops when they appeared in Madison Square Garden.  The team was extremely popular, especially as a live act, everywhere for the company during that run. 

The duo had two WWE runs as the team.  Despite their popularity and merchandise sales, they were released in 2007 after having issues with Trevor Murdoch and Lance Cade, who they were rivals with inside and outside the ring.  They returned in 2008 and were drafted to the Smackdown brand, challenging Big Show and Chris Jericho at Summerslam 2008 for the Smackdown Tag belts.  In 2010, WWE opted to split the team with Gaspard turning heel, adopting a new look for a short feud with JTG before again departing.  Truth be told, Gaspard never really had a chance to develop his singles persona enough to truly gauge whether it could have worked long-term.

Since leaving WWE, Gaspard has worked regularly as an actor and stuntman in theater, film and television and had written several projects that were in different stages of development for Hollywood.  Gaspard had worked as a stuntman on the DC Comics Harley Quinn & The Birds of Prey film released earlier this year. 

In 2016, Gaspard was credited with stopping a man intent on robbing a gas station when an armed man approached him as he was planning to rob the station.  Gaspard disarmed the man and held him until police arrived.  

This is an absolute unthinkable tragedy. sends its deepest condolences to Gaspard's family, friends and fans.  He died a hero, making sure his ten year old son was rescued, which is the most heroic thing any man can ever hope to do.  

Again, our condolences to everyone who knew and loved Gasard.

Thanks to everyone who sent along information.


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