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Shad Gaspard's wife Siliana shared an emotional statement the day after her husband's body was found in California

By Rachel DeSantis
May 21, 2020 12:10 PM
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Shad Gaspard family
Siliana and Shad Gaspard
| Credit: Joe Scarnici/Getty

Shad Gaspard’s grieving family members are mourning the loss of their “real-life super hero” following the former WWE star’s tragic death.

Gaspard, who was found dead on Wednesday after he helped rescue his 10-year-old son Aryeh from rough waves at Venice Beach, was remembered by wife Siliana as a kind, happy soul.

“Aryeh, myself and the Gaspard and Chittick families would like to take this time to thank everyone for their prayers and support, as we mourn the terrible loss of our beloved Shad,” Siliana wrote in a statement provided to PEOPLE. “Shad was our whole world and we were his.”

Siliana said that there were not enough words to describe what Gaspard, 39, meant to his loved ones.

“He was our heart, our soul, our protector, our warrior,” she wrote. “He was a bright force of nature, who brought joy to many through his joyous and gracious nature. The outpouring of love from Shad’s friends, colleagues and fans has meant more to us than you can even imagine. We’d like to once again thank the lifeguards, coast guard, divers, fire and police departments for efforts.”

Shad Gaspard
Shad Gaspard

“Shad was and will always be our real-life super hero,” Siliana concluded.

The athlete, who was a member of tag team Cryme Tyme, was found dead three days after he went missing while enjoying a beach day with Aryeh, the Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office confirmed to PEOPLE.

He and his son were swimming Sunday afternoon when they were reported missing. Rescuers eventually located the boy, who did not require hospital transport.

TMZ reported that the pair were caught under a strong ocean current, and that Gaspard was able to help direct rescuers toward his son first before he was submerged by a wave that crashed down on him.

In a statement provided to PEOPLE, his family previously expressed their gratitude for the first responders who rescued Aryah, and remained hopeful that Gaspard might be found.

"Shad is a fighter, a warrior and a magical soul. We are hoping and praying for his safe return," said the family. "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."