The wife of WWE star Shad Gaspard is speaking out after his tragic death. The 39-year-old's body was found on the beach in Venice, California on Wednesday (May 20), three days after he went missing while swimming in the ocean with the couple's 10-year-old son Aryeh.
The father and son got caught in a rip current, according to the Associated Press. Gaspard was last seen about 50 yards from shore by a lifeguard, who said a wave crashed over Gaspard and swept him out to sea.
NBC Los Angeles reported that a law enforcement source said Gaspard instructed the responders to save his son first. When they returned to save Shad, he was already gone.
"Shad was our whole world and we were his," his wife Siliana Gaspard said in a statement obtained by CNN. "There are not enough words to describe what he means to all of us. He was our heart, our soul, our protector, our warrior. He was a bright force of nature, who brought joy to many through his joyous and gracious nature."
She said the "outpouring of love" from friends, colleagues and fans around the world "has meant more to us than you can even imagine."
"Shad was and will always be our real life superhero," she concluded.
Gaspard is best known for being half of the wrestling team Cryme Tyme with fellow WWE star JTG. After leaving WWE in 2010, he transitioned to acting, appearing in the films Think Like a Man Too and The Last Sharknado: It's About Time.
Actor and fellow ex-WWE star Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson also shared his grief over Gaspard's passing on Instagram.
"This one hurts. Great guy. My deepest condolences and love to Shad Gaspard's wife, son and family. Shad drowned in the ocean, but not before instructing lifeguards to save his 10yr old son first. That's the love of a father," Johnson said in an Instagram tribute. "This is a tough one to process. Love and light to Shad's family. And your warrior spirit lives on through your son."
(Photo by Randy Shropshire/Getty Images)