Lady Gaga, Jay-Z Collaborator Zombie Boy Plunges to His Death — But Was It a Suicide?

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‘Living skeleton’ Zombie Boy

Zombie Boy’s fast-rising modeling and performance career has come to a tragic halt.

Canadian model and performance actor Rick Genest, better known as ‘Zombie Boy,’ has died after apparently committing suicide.  Genest, whose full-body tattoos defined his image, was best known for collaborating with Lady Gaga and Jay-Z’s Roc-a-wear fashion line.

Genest plunged to his death from his third-story balcony in Montreal, and police quickly ruled it a suicide.  But family members quickly contradicted those claims, calling the death an accident.  Zombie Boy’s manager has also questioned whether this was simply an accident.

But longtime collaborator Lady Gaga also ruled this a suicide, while urging greater efforts to address mental health issues.   “The suicide of friend Rick Genest, Zombie Boy is beyond devastating,” Gaga wrote on her Twitter account.  “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.”

Update: Lady Gaga has since apologized for calling this a suicide.  On Saturday (August 4th), she tweeted:

“Out of respect for Rick’s family, Rick & his legacy I apologize if I spoke too soon as there was no witnesses or evidence to support any conclusion for the cause of his death.  I in no way meant to draw an unjust conclusion. My deepest condolences to his entire family and friends.”

Zombie Boy appeared in Lady Gaga’s ‘Born This Way’ video, where Gaga herself applies Genest’s extensive skeleton-like tattoos.  Beyond that video, Genest and Lady Gaga coordinated on a number of fashion-related initiatives.

Genest was also striking success in Europe, with Roc-a-wear employing the ‘living skeleton’ to help expand the line across the Atlantic.  Zombie Boy was even contracted by L’Oreal.

Perhaps most creatively, Genest become a high-profile sponsor for Dermablend, specifically for its tattoo concealer product.  After all, if you can cover up a head-to-toe tattoo job like Zombie Boy, you can probably handle most other situations.

Zombie Boy fell from his third-floor balcony in Montreal, and police quickly ruled the plunge a suicide.  But Genest’s manager is offering more evidence that may have been an accident.  “I’ve been on that balcony before,” manager Karim Leduc told USA Today.

“It’s an emergency balcony, and it’s supposed to be locked. It’s a fire hazard exit so the rail guard is extremely low,” he explained. “I’m exactly his height, five foot ten and a half inches and that rail guard comes… low, below the hips.”

Zombie Boy was 32 years old.