On Sunday, May 17th, former WWE star Shad Gaspard went missing. Shad’s love for his family was as much a part of his life as performing in the ring. The outpouring of support for his family was evident. Whether it be on social media or not, Gaspard’s friendships with those in and out of wrestling were apparent. Today, Wednesday, May 20th, 2020, the body of Shad Gaspard was found. His body was washed up on a beach in Los Angeles. The collective wrestling community mourns this tragic loss, but those close to him mourn something far more significant.
If I ever I die tomorrow know I love you as a brother and a friend forever, even past this life – Shad Gaspard to tag team partner JTG
At 31 years of age, Gaspard left behind a wife and children. As a father myself, it pains me to comprehend the pain his family and friends are going through. As a husband, the grief his wife must be facing is likely unbearable. His actions reflect that of a hero. When we consider the act of heroism as nothing short of a father’s love for their child, he would likely not have thought of that as an act of bravery. But rather simply a father’s response to protect their child. Gaspard’s actions will never be forgotten as either an act of courage or unrelenting love for a parent for their child.
— Shad Gaspard (@Shadbeast) January 28, 2016
Shad Gaspard: Gone Too Soon
His act of heroism isn’t merely reflected in this instance, but in his past as well. On December 11th, 2016, nearly two weeks before Christmas, Gaspard stopped an armed robbery. Gaspard approached the militant, and inebriated assailant. He pushed the attempted robber away and was able to disarm him. Gaspard was also able to restrain him until the police were able to arrive. Before the robbery took place, Gaspard was approached by the would-be thief who asked Gaspard him to buy him alcohol.
The word hero is tossed around far too often with acts of courage that put themselves in danger. However, a few instances embody the word like the gentle soul of Shad Gaspard. It takes a particular person to put themselves above anything else. One more than one occasion, he put his life at risk. When someone does that, it goes beyond the wrestling ring. His actions stand alone. They are more significant than any technically sound match. For all the smiles he put on the faces of fans in the ring will pale in comparison to what he left behind as a human being. There are children who no longer have a father. There is a wife that no longer has a husband.
Shad Gaspard had a HUGE heart. He was like an annoying little brother at times. We often gave eachother a hard time, but always with love! He always had a big smile on his face and was ready to share a laugh! I have… https://t.co/YC1VaiEAoi
— MVP (@The305MVP) May 18, 2020
More Than Money
At a time when social media can often separate us as individuals, Gaspard always kept those closest to him near. His family and friends were always an integral part of his life. As fans, we will only have the memories of what was on-screen. To those closer to him will have far deeper memories of him as an individual. The individual will stand above the performer. In the case of Shad Gaspard, the individual and the performer were able to put a smile on people’s faces.
. @Shadbeast ‘s family appreciates all the love, support, and concern through this horrible ordeal. At this time they are not ready to make any public or official statements to any media outlet And ask all to respect their wishes.
— 🎅🏿 KOF’ KRINGLE 🎅🏿 (@TrueKofi) May 19, 2020
It appeared as though his smile was infectious. His pride in what he had accomplished and what was still to achieve resonate. Last year a video had gone viral that showed the reaction to Kofi Kingston capturing the WWE championship. The raw emotion on the looks of the faces of MVP and Shad was evident. For the years of Asterix put next to the names of black wrestlers who have won championships, this moment was a defining one. The tears welled up in Shad and others as though they had won the tournament as well. It was because he had won it. For every bump he took and every injury he suffered, Kofi’s championship win was his as well.
Smile for Shad
At this time, Shad Gaspard’s family likely wants and needs this privacy. The privacy is partly to process the life lost and the pain endured. His lost life will not be in vain when they think of Shad smile a little wider. He certainly did. Please hold your loved ones a little tighter and live not in fear but instead surrounded by the fact that what you give is what you get. Gaspard gave of himself without cause but only because it was the right thing to do. There was no thought of consequence for his actions because the loss of his son was paramount. Whether it was inside the ring or not, it was always anti-Cryme Tyme for Shad Gaspard. Rest in Peace, Shad Gaspard.