Aryeh Gaspard is the 10-year-old son of former WWE superstar Shad Gaspard. Gaspard tragically passed away at the age of 39 after he and his son were caught in a riptide during a trip to Venice Beach on Sunday. Lifeguards were able to rescue Aryeh but were unable to locate the former member of WWE’s Cryme Tyme. Witnesses at the scene say that Gaspard was directing lifeguards to his son when he was submerged under a large wave, per TMZ. That was the last time Gaspard was seen alive, with the U.S. Coast Guard suspending their search on Tuesday morning. Gaspard leaves behind both Aryeh and his wife Siliana.
Gaspard Was Devoted To His Son, Aryeh
Born in April 2010, Aryeh is the only child of Gaspard and Siliana. In an ESPN article in which Mark Kriegel wrote about his relationship with Gaspard, he described Aryeh as a son dedicated to following in his father’s footsteps. Aryeh took an interest in physical fitness early, beginning training when he was about 4. While Gaspard would be stern in his son’s training, he also balanced this edge by hugging and showing support for Aryeh if he came up short. Kriegel described Aryeh’s relationship with his father as being as close “as a kid can get to saying, ‘my dad’s a superhero.'”
While Gaspard kept a relatively low profile after his departure from WWE, his social media presences revealed a family man who was completely dedicated to Aryeh. Aryeh was a constant fixture on Gaspard’s Instagram feed, with the wrestler penning heartfelt captions not only expressing the love he had for his son but the responsibility he felt as a father. In an Instagram post from August 2019, Gaspard made this clear.
“My job is to teach my son who I am and how I succeeded, so he can use my life as a base for his success. From there together we work diligently towards his dreams, aspirations, and goals. That’s what it means to be a father.”
Gaspard would regularly share photos of himself and his son on the beach, and it appeared that they both shared a passion for the ocean. In an Instagram post from December 2019, the duo posed on the shore while Gaspard made a promise to his son in the caption.
“To My Son. I want you to believe deep in your heart that you’re capable of achieving anything you put your mind to that. YOU WILL NEVER LOSE. You either win or learn just go forth and aim for the skies. I can’t promise to be here for the rest of your life but I can promise to love you for the rest of mine.”
Gaspard most recently shared a pic of himself and his son to Instagram on March 29, when he posed alongside Aryeh while in quarantine.
“Who needs the world when you have a Sun.”
In Gaspard’s Final Moments He Saved Aryeh’s Life
The love Gaspard had for Aryeh was evident even amid the tragedy of the wrestler’s death. When the lifeguards arrived to save those caught in the riptide, they discovered that Gaspard and Aryeh were 200 yards away from where they were originally spotted, fighting off a tide that rescuers described as similar to a “front-loading washing machine.”
Lifeguards were unable to get a buoy to Aryeh due to the size of the waves, forcing them to make the decision of who to save. However, there was no decision needed to be made. While struggling against the tide, Gaspard told the lifeguards to save his son. The lifeguards were able to save Aryeh, who was physically unharmed but deeply distraught, per ESPN.
The lifeguards intended to return to the ocean and attempt to rescue Gaspard, but it was too late. By the time they had turned around, a wave had pushed the wrestler under. That was the last time Gaspard was seen alive — his final act being to save his son.