'Horrible ordeal': Devastating twist in search for missing WWE star

Shad Gaspard was swept out to sea after going swimming with his son. Images: Twitter

The search for former WWE star Shad Gaspard has reportedly been scaled back after he was swept out to sea in Southern California on Sunday.

Gaspard's 10-year-old son Aryeh was rescued and several other swimmers made it out of the water safely after they were caught in a rip current at Venice Beach in Los Angeles.

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“When last seen by the lifeguard, a wave had crashed over Mr. Shad Gaspard and he was swept out to sea,” Los Angeles police said in a statement on Monday.

Gaspard, 39, was about 50 metres from shore when he was last spotted, police said.

He is said to have told lifeguards to rescue his son first.

The US Coast Guard said on Tuesday they are no longer assisting in recovery efforts and the LAPD is leading investigations.

His wife, Siliana Gaspard, issued a statement on Tuesday thanking authorities and fans.

“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,” the statement said.

The statement added: “Shad is a fighter, a warrior and a magical soul. We are hoping and praying for his safe return.

“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.”

Shad Gaspard at the Hollywood Palladium in 2009. (Photo by Michael Tullberg/Getty Images)

Wrestling world praying for Shad and family

Gaspard gained prominence in the WWE as one half of the tag-team group Cryme Time, along with his partner JTG.

After retiring from the WWE in 2010, Gaspard has had small roles on TV and in movies, including the 2015 Kevin Hart comedy “Get Hard.”

The wrestling world has been taking to social media praying for a miracle.

“[Shad's] family appreciates all the love, support, and concern through this horrible ordeal,” fellow wrestlers Kofi Kingston and Montel Vontavious Porter both tweeted.

JTG posted a screenshot of a message chain between himself and Gaspard back in January.

“If ever I die tomorrow just know I love you as a brother and friend for ever even past this life,” Gaspard wrote, to which JTG replied: “Love you too brotha.”

with Associated Press