Roman Reigns has paid tribute to Shad Gaspard after the former World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) star’s death was confirmed by authorities.

According to news reports, Gaspard had gone missing after he was trapped in a strong current while swimming in the ocean off Venice Beach with his son. It is understood that Gaspard had instructed the lifeguards to save his son but the 39-year-old WWE superstar could not be saved in the process. The search for his body reportedly went on till Tuesday (April 19) and the Los Angeles Police Department confirmed the following day that Gaspard’s body was found.

The news soon triggered reactions from the WWE fraternity as social media began to pour with tributes. Former champion, Roman Reigns was among the first ones to pay tribute to the former World Wrestling Alliance (WWA) Tag Team Champion.

Before entering WWE’s main roster as a member of The Shield in November 2012, Roman Reigns impressed everyone while participating in Florida Championship Wrestling (FCW) – a former WWE developmental territory. Roman Reigns’ first-ever broadcasted match took place in October 2010 and the fight was against Gaspard at an FCW TV taping. It was Gaspard, who bagged the victory in a four-minute encounter.

While paying tribute to Gaspard on Twitter, Roman Reigns also revealed that he shared stories with Gaspard about his cousin, Umaga, during their time together in FCW.

“My very first match on FCW TV. Shad was unhappy during these times, but he was still kind to me and took good care of me. We rode to a couple of towns together and he shared stories of his road experiences and his friendship with my cousin Umaga/Eki. Now they rest together,” added Roman Reigns.

Roman Reigns WWE
Roman Reigns reacts during the WWE Live Duesseldorf event at ISS Dome on Feb. 22, 2017 in Duesseldorf, Germany. Lukas Schulze/Bongarts/Getty Images

Born in Brooklyn, Gaspard spent eight long years in the WWE system between 2002 and 2010 and that included stints on RAW and SmackDown, as well as Ohio Valley Wrestling (OVW) and FCW. The fight against Roman Reigns turned out to be Gaspard’s last televised WWE match before the company released him in November 2010.