Siliana Gaspard speaks out on the death of her husband Shad, a former WWE wrestler who passed away last month after drowning off the coast of Venice Beach.
In a candid interview with People published Tuesday, Siliana opens up about how she and the couple’s son Aryeh, 10, are coping with Shad’s passing.
“We’re just doing our best to push forward,” Siliana told the publication. “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.”
On May 17, Shad and Aryeh were among a group of swimmers who were caught in a strong rip current around 4 p.m. A witness told TMZ that Gaspard instructed lifeguards to focus their efforts on his son, which they did. Unfortunately, Shad was then submerged by a wave that crashed down on him. His body washed ashore days later.
While Shad is best known as a member of the popular WWE tag team Cryme Tyme, Siliana knows her husband as “a family man” and “an excellent father” — qualities that are reflected in Aryeh’s good behavior.
“Everyone has nothing but good things to say about [Aryeh], 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,” she remarked.
In January 2009, Siliana met Shad at a bar in Tampa, Florida, and was instantly charmed by his personality and 6 ft., 7 in. stature.
“He was the biggest person there, so you couldn’t miss him,” she recalls. “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.”
After the two tied the knot later that year, they welcomed Aryeh in April 2010.
“Shad was like the king of the gentle giants,” she continued. “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.”
Despite her tragedy, Siliana takes comfort in knowing that Shad made sure emergency personnel saved Aryeh before they tried to rescue 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,” Siliana said. “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,” she adds. “He just did exactly what he would do.”
Last month, Shad’s friends set up a GoFundMe page to raise funds for Siliana and Aryeh. As of this writing, the page has raised over $154,000.