Body of former WWE star who was swept out to sea found on Venice Beach

Days after WWE wrestling star Shad Gaspard went missing in waters off Venice Beach, authorities said on Wednesday his body was found in the area.
VENICE, Calif. (KABC) -- The body of former WWE wrestling star Shad Gaspard was found ashore Venice Beach on Wednesday, after he was caught in a rip current while swimming with his son in the area last weekend.

A statement from the Los Angeles Police Department says officers were flagged down during the early morning by a citizen reporting that a body had washed ashore. The department said he was identified as Gaspard and his family was notified, police said.

The Los Angeles Fire Department responded to the area near Lifeguard Tower 26 at Venice Beach at about 1:46 a.m. Wednesday after being contacted by LAPD, the fire department said.

The 39-year-old went missing last Sunday after he went swimming with his 10-year-old son, Aryeh. The boy was rescued and several other swimmers made it out of the water safely near the 4200 block of South Ocean Front Walk.

"He handed off his son and pushed him and said, 'save my son,'" said A.J. Lester with the L.A. County Lifeguards

Soon after, a large wave crashed down and Gaspard wasn't seen again.

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Aryeh was not hospitalized after he was pulled from the water. He was described as being in good shape at the time of the incident.
On Monday, his wife, fitness trainer and nutritionist Siliana Gaspard, pleaded for help on finding her husband, posting two photos of him on Instagram and saying he'd been missing since Sunday at the beach.

Siliana Gaspard issued a statement Tuesday thanking authorities and fans. She was among those at the scene Wednesday morning.

"It's a tragic outcome absolutely, but it does bring some closure for the family," Lester said.

Gaspard, 39, gained prominence in the WWE as one half of the tag-team group Cryme Time, along with his partner, JTG. After retiring in 2010, Gaspard has had small roles on TV and in movies, including the 2015 Kevin Hart comedy "Get Hard."

The U.S. Coast Guard on Tuesday said it suspended its search for Gaspard after 16.5 hours of covering 70 square nautical miles and seven search patterns.

L.A. County Lifeguards say what happened to Gaspard can happen to anyone. This weekend, they're expecting a 2-3 foot south swell. Their message to everyone in the water is to be careful.

"That swell will create some active rip current situations for a lot of our beaches in L.A. County," Lester said. "So what we always ask that you do is when you come down to the beach, especially this Memorial Day weekend, it's going to be hot there's going to be surf, make sure you check in with an open lifeguard tower. See if there's anything you need to know about before going out in the ocean because it's inherently dangerous."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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