Pro wrestler Shad Gaspard dies in final act of fatherhood

Sacrifice is one of the first 10 commandments of being a parent. If we’re ranking by order of importance, it may be at the top of the list.

Parents are called upon to sacrifice their money, their time, and in some ways their individualism for the good of their children. And sometimes, a parent is called upon to sacrifice their life.

Shad Gaspard, a professional wrestler and actor best known for his 2000s-era run in World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) as one half of the tag team Cryme Tyme, made the biggest sacrifice on May 17 when he lost his life trying to protect his 10-year-old son.

On that day, Gaspard and his family were at Venice Beach in California. Shad and his son Aryeh were swimming off the coast with a group of people when they were caught in a rip tide. When lifeguards made it to the group, Gaspard asked them to help his son before helping him. Moments later, Gaspard was submerged by a large wave. Rescuers were able to save Aryeh, but Shad could not be found.

On May 20, a body washed ashore that was identified as that of Shad Gaspard, 39 years old. The native New Yorker is survived by his wife, Siliana, and their son.

As a pro wrestling fan, I wasn’t very familiar with Gaspard. While I’ve followed the sport (I know, it’s “fake”) since I was a kid, there have been stretches of time where I wasn’t watching the product. One of those hiatuses coincided with Gaspard and Cryme Tyme’s stint in WWE.

But everything I’d heard about Gaspard even before his death was positive. Fellow wrestlers, the wrestling writers and podcasters I follow all described him as a good guy who got along with everyone in the business.

After wrestling, Gaspard got into acting and had roles in movies like “Get Hard” alongside Kevin Hart and Will Ferrell, and “Think Like A Man Too” with Hart and Taraji P. Henson.

You didn’t have to know Gaspard to know he took great pride in being a father. His social media accounts were filled with photos of him and his son and commentary about what how much fatherhood meant to him.

In one post, he wrote: “Who needs the world when you have a Sun. Nothing is more important to me in this life or the next than my sun, the brightest star in my universe.”

In another: “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.”

The story of Shad Gaspard’s death is heartbreaking for anyone who is a parent, anyone who has good parents, and anyone who knows good parents.

From a father’s perspective, it makes you hope for two things.

First, that you would do the same for your son.

Second, that you will raise a son who would do the same for his son.

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