The 'Zombie Boy' Rick Genest, famous for the body art that covered most of his skin, has died at the age of thirty-two from an apparent suicide.
The Montreal-based model became internationally famous after appearing alongside Lady Gaga in the music video for her song "Born This Way."
On Twitter, Gaga posted about the death of her friend and the importance of open discussions of mental health.
The suicide of friend Rick Genest, Zombie Boy is beyond devastating. We have to work harder to change the culture, bring Mental Health to the forefront and erase the stigma that we can’t talk about it. If you are suffering, call a friend or family today. We must save each other. pic.twitter.com/THz6x5JlpB
Genest will be remembered for his daring approach to identity and social norms, as well as for the open-heartedness he shared with his fans through public appearances and his social media accounts.
A tour through those social media posts reveals the model was highly self-reflective. Indeed, Genest often openly pondered his life, deepest regrets, and even social mistreatment.
In this Facebook post from May of this year, Genest discusses stigma and mistreatment in the medical profession surrounding mental health with an alarming anecdote:
He also thought about death and spirituality:
Most often, though, Genest recounted some of his biggest life regrets:
Genest was open about his harrowing past, including youth homelessness. He encouraged people that were struggling to seek help.
If you or anyone you know is struggling with thoughts of harming themselves, please reach out to a trusted peer, parent or health care professional. You can also contact a local helpline which is available 24-hours a day to talk. Or click here, for additional support resources.
If you need immediate assistance please call 9-1-1 or go to your nearest hospital.
Support is available.