Friends And Family Of 'Zombie Boy' Rick Genest Claim Death Was Accidental
"We feel there are too many inconsistencies around his death to rule it as a suicide."
Following the sad news that heavily tattooed model Rick Genest -- aka Zombie Boy -- passed away last week, his family and manager have spoken out, insisting his death was a tragic accident rather than suicide.
Genest, who appeared in Lady Gaga’s film clip for “Born This Way” died after falling from a balcony at his home in Montreal and, while authorities determined the death as a suicide, his family and friends insist he did not deliberately take his own life.
Manager Karim Leduc told PEOPLE today: "For us, the family and close entourage, we feel there are too many inconsistencies around his death to rule it as a suicide, and for people to jump to conclusions that rapidly was disappointing.”
"The balcony from which he fell on the third floor was a very dangerous balcony. Just three weeks ago, I visited that balcony with him and was on it with him smoking a cigarette, as well," Leduc said.
"It's a balcony that has very small rails/guards -- an emergency/fire escape balcony -- and he was leaning his back towards it like sitting on the ledge of the rail, and he fell from his backside onto the floor."
Leduc went on to explain that he didn’t believe the model would take his own life as he often spoke about plans for the future.
"He didn't leave any notes and had actually made plans for a couple things that week. 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. Even though he was going through some very difficult, emotion[al] periods at the time, he hung on."
Genest was reportedly with his girlfriend at the time of his fall last week, where he apparently told her he was going outside to have a cigarette.
Leduc added: "After he was gone an unusually long time, she went to check up on him and she saw him on the ground at the bottom. She's the one that ran up to him. She's in a complete state of shock at the hospital now."
In a now-deleted tweet following his death, Lady Gaga posted on Twitter urging those with depression to seek help. She has since followed up with a new tweet apologising for assuming her friend's cause of death, as well as penning another touching tribute.
If you or someone you know is dealing with suicidal thoughts, you can call beyondblue on 1300 224 636, Headspace on 1800 650 890, Lifeline on 13 11 14, the Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467, or the Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800. If it is an emergency, call 000.
To find out more about how you can safely talk about suicide, head to Life In Mind Australia.