10:46 AM PT -- Shad's family has issued a statement saying they are still "hoping and praying for his safe return."
"We would like to express our gratitude to the first responders who rescued Aryeh and to the lifeguards, coastguard, divers, fire and police departments for their continued efforts to help find our beloved Shad," the Gaspard family said through a rep.
"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."
8:32 AM PT -- 5/19 -- The search to find Shad Gaspard has been suspended, the U.S. Coast Guard tells us.
We know there was at least one boat still searching for Gaspard on Tuesday morning ... but it's become clear the chances of finding the ex-WWE star are fading fast.
We're told the case will not be closed until officials find the missing person -- but for now, the efforts have been drastically scaled back.
Officials are desperately searching for ex-WWE superstar Shad Gaspard -- after he went missing during a swim at Venice Beach on Sunday with his 10-year-old son.
Gaspard and his son were among a group of swimmers caught in a strong rip current around 4 PM -- with lifeguards racing into the water to pull everyone out.
Gaspard's son was rescued -- but the 39-year-old pro wrestler has not been located.
One official working with the L.A. Fire Dept. told media they believe the 39-year-old "did submerge."
Divers were sent to scour the area. Helicopters were searching from above.
One witness at the scene tells us ... when lifeguards raced into the ocean, Gaspard directed rescuers to help his son first, which they did.
During the rescue, we're told another big wave crashed down on Gaspard -- and that's the last time he was seen.
We're told the photo of Shad officials are using in the search (included in this post) was taken earlier Sunday, before the incident.