The wife of WWE superstar Shad Gaspard is opening up about his life and legacy just over a month after his tragic death.
As we reported, the 39-year-old wrestler was swimming off the shores of Venice Beach, California with his son Aryeh on May 18 when they got caught in a rip current. Although the 10-year-old boy was thankfully brought to safety by lifeguards, the athlete went missing during the rescue mission and was found dead just three days later.
In conversation with People, Siliana Gaspard spoke highly of her late husband and said that his beloved reputation lives on through their son:
“Shad was a family man, an excellent father, and it shows in our son. Everyone has nothing but good things to say about him, and how well-behaved he is, how well-mannered he is, and they all give me credit. But the truth is, it took two of us, and Shad was a big part of that.”
The 32-year-old admitted that while it’s been difficult for their family to move on without Shad, they are doing everything possible to keep his memory and legacy alive:
“We’re just doing our best to push forward. We’re just trying to ensure that his legacy lives on through his projects and, of course, our son. He is the most important thing for both of us. So I have to stay strong for him.”
Siliana also recalled the moment the two met at a Tampa, Florida, bar in January 2009, reminiscing on Shad’s massive size at 6ft., 7in. and light-hearted personality that instantly made him stand out from the crowd that night:
“He was the biggest person there, so you couldn’t miss him. He was just very charismatic after you spent some time with him, he had an energy. He had a presence that it was just enjoyable to be around him.”
“Shad was like the king of the gentle giants. His joke with us was because I’m so much smaller than him, people would look at him and think that he was the one not to mess with, but actually he’s the sweet one and I’m the mean one. He was really sweet, just really loving. Shad loves everyone regardless of if they love him or not. Regardless of if they wanted his love, he still gave it to them.”
The grieving widow said he “cared for his family more than anything,” noting he and his son were best friends, bonded over his love fitness, and that they boxed together “literally every day together, almost all day.”
Ugh. What a terrible, heartbreaking loss for their family.
On the day Shad went missing, it was reported that the doting father directed first responders to rescue his son before him once they arrived, and Siliana remarked it was exactly the sort of selfless and heroic thing she would expect from him:
“I’m not surprised that Shad did that, because that’s who Shad is. I wasn’t surprised to see my son come back. I was surprised that Shad didn’t. But he was just himself at that moment. That’s really the best way I can explain it. He just did exactly what he would do.”
Before his sad and untimely death, the athlete had been focused on his interests outside of the area, including developing an animal-focused cartoon and a live-action show about the Haitian revolution. He also provided motion capture for Kratos, the main character in the hit PlayStation 4 video game, God of War.
A GoFundMe has been set up by the family’s friends to benefit Aryeh and has raised over $154,000. In a heartbreaking tribute to Shad late last month, Siliana asked fans and followers for their continued prayers and support during this difficult time.
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