'Zombie Boy' Found Dead

Lady Gaga devastated by apparent suicide
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 3, 2018 6:38 AM CDT
'Zombie Boy' Found Dead
Canadian model Rick Genest, aka Zombie Boy, wears a creation by Auslander during the Fashion Rio Summer 2012 collection in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Saturday, June 4, 2011.   (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)

Lady Gaga is mourning her friend and muse Rick Genest—better known as "Zombie Boy." The 32-year-old Canadian model, who went from the Quebec punk scene to catwalks around the world after his head-to-toe tattoos of bones, insects, and exposed brains made him famous, was found dead at his Montreal home Wednesday and police sources tell the CBC he died by suicide. Genest, who got his first tattoo at 16, died six days before his 33rd birthday. He appeared in Gaga's 2011 "Born This Way" video, was once the face of Jay-Z's fashion label, and modeled for French designer Thierry Mugler, among others, the BBC reports.

Genest's agency, Dulcedo Management, said in a Facebook post that it was "shocked and saddened by this tragedy," the Montreal Gazette reports. Gaga tweeted that the suicide was "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," she said, posting a photo of herself with Genest. "If you are suffering, call a friend or family today. We must save each other." The Guardian notes that Genest, whose body was 90% covered in tattoos, likened the zombie theme to rebelling against consumerism in a 2012 interview. "Zombies, to many, represent a pervasive xenophobia," he said. "As in my life, I was often out-casted, hated, or misunderstood." (More obituary stories.)

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