Former World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) pro Shad Gaspard‘s body was found washed up on Venice Beach on Wednesday morning after he was swept out to sea in Southern California last weekend while swimming with his young son.
Gaspard’s 10-year-old son, Aryeh, was rescued, and several other swimmers made it out of the water safely after they were caught in a rip current Sunday afternoon at Venice Beach in Los Angeles.
“When last seen by the lifeguard, a wave had crashed over Mr. Shad Gaspard and he was swept out to sea,” Los Angeles police said in a statement Monday.
Gaspard, 39, was about 50 yards (46 metres) from shore when he was last spotted, police said.
On Monday, WWE star MVP shared a statement from Gaspard’s family on Twitter and said they appreciate “all the love, support, and concern through this horrible ordeal.”
“At this time they are not ready to make any public of official statements to any media outlet and ask all to respect their wishes,” the tweet read.
Shad’s wife, Siliana Gaspard, issued a statement Tuesday thanking authorities and fans.
“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.”
On Tuesday, the U.S. Coast Guard said it suspended its search for the missing swimmer “after 16.5 hours of searching with multiple rescue assets covering 70 square nautical miles and seven search patterns.”
Officials said a body had been found in the area on Wednesday, but they did not confirm the identity of the deceased at the time.
The Los Angeles Fire Department responded to the area near Lifeguard Tower 26 at Venice Beach around 1:46 a.m. on Wednesday after being notified by the Los Angeles Police Department.
On Wednesday morning, Gaspard’s family members showed up to Venice Beach to identify the body found in the area after the former WWE wrestler went missing three days earlier.
Many fans of Gaspard and members of the WWE community took to social media to mourn the loss of the former WWE star.
Gaspard gained prominence in the WWE as one half of the tag-team group Cryme Tyme, along with his partner, JTG.
After retiring from the WWE in 2010, Gaspard had small roles on TV and in movies, including in the 2015 Kevin Hart comedy Get Hard.
— With files from the Associated Press