‘Zombie Boy’ Rick Genest Who Starred In ‘Born This Way’ Video, Found Dead Aged 32

Rick GenestGetty

Rick Genest, also known as ‘Zombie Boy’ due to his distinctive tattoos, has died aged 32.

Born in Canada in 1985, Genest was an artist, musician, actor and fashion model who gained mainstream attention in 2011 when he starred in Lady Gaga’s music video for Born This Way.

Since then, the model went on to appear in more high-profile fashion work. He helped relaunch Jay-Z’s label, Roc-A-Wear, in 2012, as well as modelling for GQ, Vanity Fair and a host of others.

Police found Genest in his apartment in Montreal’s Plateau-Mont-Royal neighbourhood, according to Canada’s iHeartRadio. He is believed to have taken his own life.

After hearing of his death, Lady Gaga tweeted:

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:

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.

Genest was born in Montreal and got his first tattoo aged 16, within three years he had covered almost his entire body. The body art, consisting of ‘corpse’ imagery, bones, skulls and insects, led to his nicknames Zombie Boy and Rico Zombie.

After being discovered by Lady Gaga’s stylist in 2010 – Nicola Formichetti – who was also creative director for fashion designer, Thierry Mugler, Genest began appearing in high-end fashion campaigns.

He also landed roles in films and TV, such as 2013’s 47 Ronin with Keanu Reeves and last year’s Silent Witness.

#SilentWitness ?

A post shared by Zombie Boy ? (@rickgenestofficial) on

When he was younger, Genest underwent an operation to treat a brain tumour, and had reportedly struggled with mental health issues throughout his life.

The model was also working on a musical project with Rob Zombie guitarist, Mike Riggs.

In a post on Facebook, Genest’s management team said:

The whole Dulcedo family is shocked an 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.

| How often in life do we get a second chance? #RickGenestOfficial

A post shared by Zombie Boy ? (@rickgenestofficial) on

Genest held the Guiness World Record for the most insect tattoos on his body (176) as well as another record for most human bone tattoos (139).

In an interview with TVA, Genest revealed he was working with the Orange Door initiative to help organisations support young homeless people in Canada.

Our thoughts are with Rick’s friends and family at this difficult time.

If you’ve been affected by any of these issues, and want to speak to someone in confidence, please don’t suffer alone. Call Samaritans for free on their anonymous 24-hour phone line on 116 123.

You can also call Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM). They’re open from 5pm–midnight, 365 days a year. Their national number is 0800 58 58 58, and they also have a webchat service if you’re not comfortable talking on the phone.