Rick Genest, known to the world as Zombie Boy, because of his bone and organ tattoos across his body, died on Wednesday in a reported suicide.
His tragic death in Montreal, Canada, was met by sadness around the world – including from pop superstar Lady Gaga who worked with Genest, 32, in her iconic 2011 video Born This Way.
And Gaga has now shared a heartfelt message on social media following the untimely passing.
“The suicide of friend Rick Genest, Zombie Boy is beyond devastating,” Gaga, also 32, said on Twitter alongside some images of herself with Genest. “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: “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. Reach out if you’re in pain, and if you know someone who is, reach out to them too.
“Kindness and mental health aren’t one time practices. They aren’t just to do list items.”
And Gaga’s outpouring wasn’t the only social media message to be written in tribute. Genest’s management said in a Facebook post: “The whole dulcedo family is shocked and pained by this tragedy. Zombie boy, Rico, was loved by all those who had the chance to meet him and know him. Icon of the artistic scene and the fashion world, this innovator, against popular culture, has been able to charm all hearts.
“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 and the legend will survive human. Thank you zb for these beautiful moments in your company and for your radiant smile.”