The death of beloved Québec artist Rick Genest, known the world over as "Zombie Boy," has finally been ruled an accident, after months of speculation. Genest died last August 2018, at the age of 32, after falling from the third-floor balcony of an apartment building in the Plateau.
Initial reports were quick to rule the death a suicide, which was then taken for fact and spread through the media and celebrity tributes. However, immediately after these reports, friends and family off Genest were quick to share their uncertainty and belief that the death was, in fact, an accident.
The coroner, Mélissa Gagnon, has now shared her conclusions following investigations and the autopsy. In the report on Genest's death, Gagnon discloses that "Rick Stephan Genest died of head trauma following a fall from a balcony."
She then goes on to state, unequivocally, "It was an accidental death."
Genest rose to fame after being featured in Lady Gaga's music video for the song "Born This Way."
Genest can be seen just past the 4-minute mark.
Genest was also featured in the Thierry Mugler men's Autumn/Winter 2011 campaign, including video on the website and walking the menswear show.
He then went on to be the first male spokesperson for L'Oreal, after a concealer campaign that had a team covering Genest's tattoos and asking the question, "How do you judge a book?"
In regards to the rampant reports of suicide, Gagnon first indicates that "Mr. Genest did not seem to be in a state of psychosis or delirium when he went out onto the balcony."
In addition to that, many of his close friends confirmed that Genest was "happy" and "highly motivated by his many artistic projects." He was also "well supported and had recently gotten engaged." For these reasons, Gagnon's professional opinion is that the investigation "did not reveal a clear and unequivocal intention to end his life."
Perhaps the most significant piece of information in the report comes near the end. Gagnon states:
"The possibility of an accidental fall cannot be ruled out. Some of Mr. Genest's close friends indicated that he had a habit of sitting on the railing of the building's balcony when he went out to smoke. Given that habit and the fact that Mr. Genest was highly intoxicated, it is plausible that he accidentally fell from the balcony."
The report did indicate that Genest was "highly intoxicated," with a blood-alcohol level three times the legal limit to drive. They also detected cannabis in his blood.
In an interview with K5 News, Genest's manager, Karim Leduc, also explained that the balcony was more of a fire escape and that the guard rail was "extremely low," even stating that, being the same height as Genest - over 5'10" - the railing did not even come as high as his hips.