Dwayne Johnson, also known as The Rock from his wrestling days, made a heartfelt tribute to WWE star Shad Gaspard after his body washed up on Venice Beach Wednesday.
Gaspard had been missing for three days after he was swept out to sea by a riptide while swimming with his 10-year-old son.
Johnson said ‘This one hurts,’ in a post on Instagram, where he admitted the loss was hard to process.
Dwayne Johnson, also known as The Rock from his wrestling days, made a heartfelt tribute to WWE star Shad Gaspard after his body washed up on Venice Beach Wednesday. Pictured is an image of Gaspard (left) and Johnson that was included in the tribute on Instagram
Johnson praised Gaspard as a ‘great guy’ and loving father for asking lifeguards to save his boy first before him, just before the wrestler was overtaken by the surf. ‘My deepest condolences and love to Shad Gaspard’s wife, son and family, wrote Johnson in the post.
‘Shad drowned in the ocean, but not before instructing lifeguards to save his 10yr old son first,’ explains Johnson.
‘That’s the love of a father,’ he adds. ‘This is a tough one to process.’
Johnson signs off with ‘Love and light to Shad’s family,’ and saying to Gaspard, ‘Your warrior spirit lives on through your son.
The devastated wife and family of Gaspard gathered at Venice Beach on Wednesday, hours after the missing father’s body washed up on the shore.
The 39-year-old wrestler’s remains were discovered earlier Wednesday morning, three days after he was swept out to sea by a riptide while swimming with his ten-year-old son.
Los Angeles County Coroner’s office said Gaspard was found on the surfline at 2600 Ocean Walk – one mile north from where he was believed to have drowned on Sunday.
His wife of 11 years, Siliana Gaspard was seen hours later standing at the spot where her husband washed up overnight, surrounded by loved ones.
Heartbroken friends and relatives were photographed embracing and consoling each other as they gathered together on the sand to mourn the athlete. Gaspard’s young son Aryeh was not with them.
Heartbroken friends and family gathered at Venice Beach on Wednesday, hours after Shad Gaspard’s body washed up ashore
The pro wrestler’s wife of 11 years Siliana Gaspard was seen looking distraught as she mourned her husband on Wednesday
Siliana had been enjoying a day at the beach with her husband and their young son on Sunday when tragedy struck. The grieving mother and family members returned to the spot where Gaspard was last seen
Video footage taken at the scene Wednesday morning showed authorities surrounding Gaspard’s lifeless body as it lay on the sand.
LAPD and LAFD were called to the beach around 2am after two people discovered a body on the sand halfway between Venice Beach pier and lifeguard headquarters at 1.25am, police said.
‘The decedent was identified as Shad Gaspard and next of kin was notified,’ LAPD said in a statement.
Gaspard, 39, had reportedly told lifeguards to save his son first, who was pulled from the water in good condition and did not require hospitalization.
But lifeguards were unable to rescue Gaspard, who was about 50 yards offshore when a wave crashed over him and pulled him out into the ocean.
His body was identified and transported to the LA County Coroner’s office, Kenichi Haskett, Section Chief with the Los Angeles County Fire Department, Lifeguard Services said.
Haskett revealed Gaspard had been pulled out about 75 to 100 yards off shore in just a moment’s notice.
With Memorial weekend approaching, he warned beachgoers to stay safe and informed about the water conditions.
Former WWE star Shad Gaspard, 39, has been missing since Sunday after being pulled into sea while swimming at California’s Venice Beach with his son
At one point, Siliana and a friend were seen entering the water near where Gaspard disappeared
The devastated mom is seen with friends and family at Venice Beach on Wednesday. Gaspard’s young son Aryeh was not with them
Relatives and loved ones were seen embracing and consoling each other in the wake of the tragedy
Authorities revealed Gaspard had been pulled out about 75 to 100 yards off shore by a rip tide in just a moment’s notice
Police were called to the scene after two people discovered the body on the sand around 1.30am
LA County lifeguards confirmed the body matches the description of missing father and wrestler Shad Gaspard
Although most beaches generally have signs or flags to indicate safe or unsafe swimming conditions, this type of warning system does not work on the Venice Beach coastline.
‘Having been an ocean lifeguard since 1994 and worked Venice Beach during this time frame to now a full-time lifeguard and chief, I can say our conditions change on an hourly, if not a moment’s notice,’ he told DailyMail.com.
‘It could be yellow where we put that flag, and then within a moment it’s red because a rip current has now surfaced. So what we do instead is staff the lifeguard towers in those areas.
‘The flag system at this time isn’t the best system to save people’s lives and protect people. It’s us talking to people, it’s us warning people, it’s us making the preventive measures as to where people can swim.’
Siliana Gaspard had issued a statement on Instagram on Tuesday thanking authorities for their efforts, while holding on to hope for her husband’s safe return.
‘We would like to express our gratitude to the first responders who rescued Aryeh and to the lifeguards, coast guard, divers, fire and police departments for their continued efforts to help find our beloved Shad,’ the statement said.
‘Shad is a fighter, a warrior and a magical soul. We are hoping and praying for his safe return. As a family we thank you all for your concern and well wishes. Please continue to keep sending your positivity and prayers to our beloved Shad.’
Gaspard’s distraught wife Siliana Gaspard was seen leaving Venice Beach in her Mercedes SUV, Wednesday morning
Gaspard married wife Siliana Gaspard in 2009 and they share one son together. Gaspard had launched an acting career since leaving the wrestling world in 2010
Gaspard’s wife Siliana Gaspard was seen leading a small group of family and friends near the site where her husband’s body washed up on shore at about 2am
LA County Fire Department Lifeguard is seen at Venice Beach, hours after Gaspard’s body was found
The US Coast Guard confirmed on Tuesday it was no longer assisting in the search and the investigation was being led by LAPD.
Tributes have poured in from wrestling stars including Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, Titus O’Neill and Triple H, after news broke of the discovery.
‘My prayers and hope for Shad Gaspard’s wife, son and family during this unthinkable time. Man, this is a tough one. A really tough one. Great guy,’ The Rock tweeted.
‘I join fans around the world as we remember Shad Gaspard as a beloved performer and a caring father. In absolutely tragic circumstances, please keep his loved ones in your thoughts,’ Triple H said.
Friends released a statement on behalf of the family on Monday night thanking the public for their support.
‘[Shad’s] family appreciates all the love, support, and concern through this horrible ordeal. At this time they are not ready to make any public or official statements to any media outlet And ask all to respect their wishes’, Fellow wrestler Kofi Kingston tweeted.
Gaspard’s wife Siliana Gaspard shared a statement on Instagram on Tuesday, thanking authorities for their efforts, while still holding on to hope
Gaspard’s wife posted this missing flyer to his social media accounts and hers asking the public for help in finding her husband
Several friends and members of the wrestling community, including Montel Vontavious Porter, also tweeted the message at the request of the family.
Fellow WWE star JTG, who performed alongside Gaspard in wrestling tag team, ‘Cryme Tyme’, took to Twitter to share a screenshot of a heartfelt conversation he had the missing wrestler in January.
‘If ever I die tomorrow just know I love you as a brother and friend for ever even past this life’, Gaspard wrote, to which JTG replied: ‘Love you too brotha #Nohomo’.
DailyMail.com was there as multiple lifeguards were on the scene on Sunday, along with divers, rescue boats, paramedics on standby, the coast guard flying back and forth and helicopters hovering over the crowded beach for nearly three hours.
‘I saw the young boy who was inconsolable and his mother who had her arms wrapped around him,’ said one onlooker. ‘The whole thing was just heartbreaking, absolutely heartbreaking to see this mother and child in complete despair.’
Shad Gaspard’s wife, Siliana Gaspard, was seen leaving Venice Beach being comforted by close friends after a tragic incident Sunday
Siliana was seen flanked by close friends as they left Venice Beach while divers continue their search for Shad Gaspard
On Monday afternoon Gaspard’s wife Siliana was seen on the beach being consoled by close friends as the search continued for her husband.
The boy was unharmed and later walked off the beach with an adult friend for about fifteen minutes, while his mother Siliana Gaspard remained on the beach painstakingly staring out into the ocean.
Gaspard is best known as a member of the wrestling team Cryme Tyme with fellow WWE star JTG.
Since leaving the wrestling world in 2010, Gaspard pursued an acting career starring in several movies including Think Like A Man Too and the 2015 Kevin Hart comedy, Get Hard.
He married wife Siliana Gaspard in 2009 and they share one son together.
Friends of Gaspard released a statement on behalf of the family thanking the public for their support. Former fellow wrestler Matt Morgan took to Twitter to shared photos of him and his friend through the years (pictured)
The mother and a few friends left the beach at about 12:30pm. The rescue station was also shut down at the same time.
Prior to leaving, Siliana was seen sitting on the beach with some friends and possible family members who were consoling her and rubbing her back.
Their son had left about 30 minutes prior with an adult and another young boy. Officials wouldn’t confirm whether or not the body had been found.
Helicopters can still be heard hovering over the beach and many locals are asking the question why the beach wasn’t closed off if the rip currents were so strong.
‘There were unusually strong rip currents the day before this happened. Two girls were pulled out because of the riptide. I am not sure why swimmers weren’t warned,’ Daisy Godfrey tells DailyMail.com. ‘Lifeguards were there immediately but the helicopter took almost an hour to get there.’ ‘If you feel a strong pull, that’s the time to get out of the water. But many swimmers may not think anything of the pull, especially if they don’t go to the beach a lot.’
Gaspard (left) is best known as a member of the wrestling team Cryme Tyme with fellow WWE star JTG (pictured together)