If there was a single face that stood out alongside Lady Gaga during her Born This Way era, it was model Rick Genest. The Canadian-born Genest offered a very specific aesthetic, having covered his body in tattoos, many depicting the bones of his own skeleton, thus his nickname, "Zombie Boy."
Genest was found dead Wednesday in his Montreal apartment from an apparent suicide at age 32, according to reports given to iHeartRadio Canada.
Gaga mourned the loss of her friend on Twitter, emphasizing the need to dissolve the stigma surrounding mental health and talking about it. "The suicide of friend Rick Genest, Zombie Boy is beyond devastating," she wrote. "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."
Gaga also implored others who may be in a similar state of mind as Genest was to seek help. "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."
Transgender nightlife icon Amanda Lepore paid her respects on Instagram, sharing the number of the National Suicided Prevention Lifeline, urging anyone struggling with depression or suicidal thoughts to reach out.