More than a year after his shocking death, Quebec’s coroner has ruled that Zombie Boy’s death was a tragic accident. The 32-year-old tattooed model who starred in Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way” video in 2011 died as a result of head trauma after falling from a third floor balcony of a Montreal apartment building, coroner Melissa Gagnon wrote in her report published Monday (Oct. 28).
Gagnon said Genest was found “unconscious and bleeding” at the foot of the building by a passerby and his blood alcohol level was 234 mg/dL — which Gagnon said qualified him as “heavily intoxicated” (the legal limit to drive in Canada is 80 mg/dL); cannabis was also detected in his blood. Friends and family had adamantly rejected the idea that Genest committed suicide and while Gagnon’s report could not definitively rule it out, she said he did not “seem to be in a state of psychosis or delirium when he went out on the balcony to smoke… After analysis, given that the investigation did not reveal a clear and unequivocal intention to end his life on Mr. Genest’s part, I cannot state that the death was a suicide.”
As a result, she concluded despite evidence that Genest had received mental health services in the past and some relatives said that he reported “hearing voices,” the more feasible hypothesis was that he fell to his death by accident. “Moreover, according to the testimonies of his relatives, Mr. Genest was happy. He was very motivated by his many artistic projects, he was well surrounded and he had just become engaged,” Gagnon wrote. “For the coroner, the investigation does not reveal a clear and unequivocal intention to end his life.”
According to CTV News, Genest’s manager, Karim Leduc, said in a statement that, “Rick was always somebody who had a lot of ambition, he was someone who had a lot of ideas for new projects and certainly we had things scheduled… It made absolutely no sense.” Gagnon also noted that some of Genest’s friends said that he had a habit of sitting on the railing of the building’s balcony when he went out to smoke.”
After Genest’s death, Gaga said his death was “beyond devastating,” later issuing a retraction and apologizing for referring to his death as a suicide.