Fame and celebrity

Lady Gaga mourns Rick ‘Zombie Boy’ Genest, calling his apparent suicide ‘beyond devastating’

Pop superstar laments the death of her friend Genest – who rose to fame as the star of Gaga’s Born This Way music video. The former Canadian model, who was suffering from mental health issues, reportedly committed suicide

PUBLISHED : Friday, 03 August, 2018, 8:01pm
UPDATED : Friday, 03 August, 2018, 8:00pm

Pop star Lady Gaga is raising awareness on the stigma surrounding mental health following the apparent suicide of the Canadian model and artist known as Zombie Boy.

The pop superstar mourned her friend Rick Genest – who rose to fame as the star of Gaga’s Born This Way music video – on Twitter on Thursday, describing his death as “beyond devastating”. He was 32.

Gaga called on her 76 million Twitter followers to help change the culture around mental illness.

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In a series of tweets, she wrote: “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.”

She challenged those battling depression to reach out to someone for help and encouraged everyone to check on their loved ones in need, noting that it only takes 21 days to form a habit.

“Science tells us that it takes 21 days to form a habit, if you are suffering from mental health issue I beckon for today to be your first day or a continuation of the work you’ve been doing,” she said, adding: “Reach out if you’re in pain, and if you know someone who is, reach out to them too.”

Genest was found dead in his Montreal apartment on Wednesday, according to CBC. An agency representing the model confirmed his death on Facebook.

The heavily inked artist was known as Zombie Boy after being tattooed like a corpse across his body.

At the time of his death, he held the Guinness World Record for the most insect tattoos (176) and the most bone tattoos (139).

Gaga wore make-up in her Born This Way music video to mimic Genest’s tattoos. The video has more than 231 million views on YouTube.