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The wrestling world mourns the death & honors the life of Shad Gaspard

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For the past few days, the wrestling world has hoping for a miracle. Sadly, today we learned we aren’t getting one this time.

Shad Gaspard’s body was found on Venice Beach early this morning (Weds., May 20). Officials have been searching for the former WWE Superstar since Sunday afternoon, when he disappeared while lifeguards were rescuing a group of swimmers caught in a rip current off Venice Beach in Southern California. Gaspard made sure his ten year old son was helped out of the water first, ensuring his last act was a heroic one - Aryeh Gaspard was saved, and is at home with his mother Siliana.

Born in Brooklyn in 1981, Shad led a fascinating life. His father started training him in boxing at an early age, and he spent his teenage years competing in combat sports in addition to traditional scholastic ones. He played basketball in college, and before signing with WWE he worked as a bodyguard.

Tom Prichard recruited Gaspard into WWE developmental (then OVW) after he missed out on joining the Tough Enough 2 cast due to a failed physical. He debuted for the promotion in 2003, but it was in 2006 that he would team with JTG in the act most fans remember him for. Originally called “The Gang Stars”, the pair were called up to Raw in the fall of ‘06 as Cryme Tyme.

Despite being as popular as it was stereotypical, Cryme Tyme never won a championship, and the team was released for several months in 2007 - 2008. They were brought back for another run, but Gaspard was cut again in 2010 and moved on to working the independents and pursuing other endeavors.

Among those was an acting career which led to roles in several television shows & films, as well as some stunt & video game motion capture work. Gaspard also performed on stage, and was working to get his writing for comic books & the screen produced.

He also went viral online a couple times in recent years, once for stopping a robbery in 2016, and again for a reaction video of himself & MVP when Kofi Kingston won the WWE title at WrestleMania 35. MVP wrote about the latter in his remembrance, which you can read here.

Considering how much life he squeezed into his 39 years, it’s not surprising there have been countless memories and condolences shared on social media about the man this week. Here are but a few:

WWE’s obituary is here.