Heroes never truly die.
Though Shad Gaspard has left this world, he will live on in the hearts of all those who knew him.
In the early hours of Wednesday, May 20th the body of 39-year-old Shad Gaspard was found on the shore of Venice Beach. Having gone missing after becoming caught in a riptide days earlier, this was the conclusion that no one wanted to see. However, despite the immensely sad circumstances, some comfort can be found in the fact that he died a hero. Rather than accept rescue for himself he instead pointed the lifeguard to his 10-year-old son, Aryeh, and ensured that his life was saved.
This last act of bravery and fatherly love was not a one-off, Shad had made a life’s work of acting honourably and with compassion.
In December of 2016, Shad and his Cryme Tyme tag partner JTG stopped at a gas station following a wrestling event. Whilst inside, Shad was approached by a man who would go on to pull a gun and make clear his intention to rob the store. Acting with the safety of everyone in the store in mind, Shad disarmed the assailant and, with the help of his wrestling brethren, restrained him until the police arrived. It was only when he went to remove the gun’s magazine that he found it was not a real firearm.
Speaking on the event Shad said the following:
“I thought it was a real gun the entire time and honestly, I just didn’t want anyone to get hurt… I just kept thinking about how I wanted to make sure I got home to my son”.
These are the actions of a man with a strong moral compass and bag load of bravery.
He made sure to let those close to him know that he loved them throughout his life too. JTG has shared a message that Shad sent him following the tragic death of Kobe Bryant. In it he tells his long-time friend that if he dies tomorrow, he wants him to know that he loves him. With what we now know these words are heartbreaking.
It isn’t only JTG who has shared stories of Shad’s big heart. Figures throughout the industry have taken to social media to express their love for a true friend. The number of posts are too many to count. But the theme running through each of them is that everyone who truly knew the big man, loved him. They all paint him as a kind, caring individual who brought a smile to the face of everyone he knew. Such qualities are sometimes hard to come by and they are the mark of a genuinely good human being.
In addition to being a man of virtue, Shad also had a work ethic to be envied. In his time in the WWE he worked hard on every show he found himself on. It didn’t matter if he was jerking the curtain or headlining the show, he could be relied upon to deliver the best performance he possibly could on any given night.
He and JTG were a charismatic highlight during their time in the spotlight. Immediately their work alongside John Cena springs to mind. Just by seeing how much fun they were having out there, fans couldn’t help but smile and root for the mischievous duo.
Outside of wrestling, he worked just as hard in films as a stuntman and performer. He also graced the small screen in From Dusk Till Dawn and Key and Peele, amongst other credits. Perhaps most notably of all, he provided the motion capture for Kratos in the hit PS4 game God of War.
He was honoured by hundreds of friends and family in a touching floral memorial and vigil.
Shad Gaspard leaves behind a legacy that anyone would be proud of. A man beloved by all, with a beautiful family and a successful career. He was taken too soon, and the world is poorer for not having him in it.
You can find the author of this article on Twitter @Impers0nalJesus. Thanks for reading!