'Zombie Boy' Death May Not Have Been a Suicide

Family thinks Rick Genest leaned too far back on a balcony while smoking a cigarette
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 4, 2018 6:30 AM CDT
Family of 'Zombie Boy' Believes Death Was Accidental
In this June 4, 2011, file photo, Canadian model Rick Genest, aka "Zombie Boy," appears on the runway during a fashion show in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.   (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)

His death Wednesday was widely reported to be a suicide, including by Lady Gaga, whose music video "Born This Way" helped make his tattooed face famous. But the family and manager of model Rick Genest, aka "Zombie Boy," are telling everyone to pull back on the conclusion that he took his own life, instead suggesting he accidentally fell to his death. Karim Leduc, Genest's manager, confirms to People that the 32-year-old plunged to his death from a third-floor balcony in Montreal while visiting his girlfriend, but Leduc insists Genest simply leaned too far back on the "dangerous" balcony while smoking a cigarette and fell to the ground below. The management company that represented Genest also said in a statement to People that the cause of Genest's death "is yet to be determined."

It was Genest's girlfriend who discovered his body when she went to look for him after he never came back from having a smoke, Leduc says. "He's not someone who, we feel, would commit suicide. He's not someone who would do something like that because he's very thoughtful of others," Leduc says, though he concedes that what really happened is "between [Genest] and God." Meanwhile, tributes are filtering out for Genest, with one person who knew him calling him a "kind and gentle soul who had some deep concerns about anybody who is on the fringes or being dismissed for how they looked," per the Canadian Press. (More Lady Gaga stories.)

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