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Zombie Boy, who starred in Lady Gaga’s iconic ‘Born This Way’ video, dead at 32

Claire Toureille August 3, 2018

Zombie Boy, aka Rick Genest, a model known for his impressive organ and skeleton tattoos, has died at the age of 32.

It is believed that Genest died by suicide just days before what would have been his 33rd birthday next Tuesday.

He was found dead at his home in Montreal, Canada, according to reports.

The model wore several hats, from model to actor, and rose to fame in 2011 when he appeared in a music video for Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way.”

Genest appeared in a fashion campaign for Thierry Mugler around the same time, which launched his modelling career. He was soon a catwalk regular and made the cover of GQ, Vogue Hommes and Vogue Japan among others.

In 2012, he posed for Jay-Z’s fashion label Rocawear.

Gaga paid her respects to her friend on social media, tweeting: “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 added.

https://twitter.com/ladygaga/status/1025171911138004992?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw

Genest was operated on at a young age because of a brain tumour and suffered from mental health issues throughout his life.

He got his first tattoo at 13 and within three years, his whole body was covered with bone and organs drawings.

His unusual body art earned him a Guinness World Record for most insects tattooed on the body. He had 176.

Genest was left homeless as a teen and lived in the streets of Montreal. Last month, he revealed in an interview he was working with The Home Depot Canada Foundation’s Orange Door initiative, which helps support homeless youth.

Admirers and friends of Genest paid their respects online.

Genest’s management shared their condolences in a Facebook post written in French on Thursday: “Rico was loved by all those who had the chance to meet him and know him,” the post read.

“We received the unfortunate news at the beginning of the afternoon and members of the team have come to support his family and relatives in this dark and difficult moment.

“We want to present our deepest condolences… Thank you zb for these beautiful moments in your company and for your radiant smile.”

Nicola Formichetti, who worked on the “Born This Way” video and introduced Genest to the Mugler brand back in 2010 wrote on Twitter: ”Absolutely heartbroken. Rest in Power, Zombie Boy. Sending all my condolences and love to Rico’s family and friends. If you ever need help, reach out. 1-800-273-8255 is the number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. You’re not alone.”

Fans of Zombie Boy also shared their condolences on social media.

“Thank you Zombie Boy, Little Monsters will never forget u, u went one of the faces of Born This Way era. We love u! Rest in Peace. Paws Up,“ one wrote.

“I am so sad to hear the passing of Rick Genest (aka Zombie Boy) his portraits were always beautiful and he paved a new path for tattooed individuals in the modeling world, may your soul shine just as bright as you did,” wrote another.

Sharon Needles, winner of RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 4 also paid her tribute to the model:

More: Born This Way, lady gaga, rick genest, skeleton tattoo, suicide prevention, zombie boy, zombie tattoo

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