Former WWE star Shad Gaspard went missing on Sunday 

By Ally Mauch
May 19, 2020 01:17 PM
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Shad Gaspard
Shad Gaspard

Shad Gaspard’s family is speaking out as the search continues for the former WWE star, who went missing on Sunday while at Venice Beach with his son.

His family issued a statement Monday evening through several of his fellow wrestlers, including Lance Archer.

“@Shadbeast's family appreciates all the love, support, and concern through this horrible ordeal,” the tweet reads. “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.”

In another statement provided to PEOPLE, the Gaspard family said, "We would like to express our gratitude to the first responders who rescued Aryeh and to the lifeguards, coast guard, divers, fire and police departments for their continued efforts to help find our beloved Shad."

"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."

Gaspard, 39, was among a group of swimmers that got caught in strong rip currents while in the water Sunday. His 10-year-old son was rescued by lifeguards, but Gaspard submerged when a large wave crashed down on him, ABC7 reported.

"That group was stuck in one of the rip currents and were swimming just north of the lifeguard tower," Los Angeles Fire Department lifeguard specialist Pono Barnes told the outlet. "That's why lifeguards were able to get there so soon, but unfortunately, one did, however, submerge."

Los Angeles Fire Department spokesman Margaret Stewart said in an online statement that they responded to a medical request at 3:56 p.m. local time on Sunday near 4200 S. Ocean Front Walk for two reported missing swimmers, a 39-year-old man and his son.

The boy, Gaspard's son, did not require hospital transport after being rescued. The Los Angeles County Fire Department Lifeguard Division is currently leading the continued search for the adult male, Stewart's statement read.

Shad Gaspard
Credit: Shad Gaspard/Instagram
Shad Gaspard
Credit: Shad Gaspard/Instagram

TMZ first reported that Gaspard, a member of tag team Cryme Tyme, was the missing man on Monday.

The news was also confirmed on Gaspard's Instagram Story, with an announcement urging fans to reach out to family if they had seen the athlete. The posts said he was "last seen wearing swim shorts."

According to local station Fox 11, underwater searches for Gaspard stopped around 7:30 p.m. on Sunday evening, county lifeguards said, but resumed Monday.

The Los Angeles County Fire Department lifeguards public information officer told PEOPLE on Tuesday that conditions have been too rough for the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department to continue searching. The PIO said there are plans to continue the search later in the week.