Lady Gaga has paid tribute to model Rick Genest, who has died at the age of 32.
Rick was known as Zombie Boy, due to bone and organ tattoos across his body, including skull features on his face.
He was found dead at his home in Montreal, Canada and is believed to have killed himself, reports say.
Rick appeared in Gaga’s Born This Way video in 2011 and the singer says the loss 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,” she wrote on Twitter.
“If you are suffering, call a friend or family today. We must save each other.”
Rick modelled for French fashion designer Thierry Mugler, appeared in Vogue Japan and was once the face of Jay-Z’s Rocawear fashion label.
I agree with Lady Gaga’s comments, but she is also part of the problem. This is a guy who clearly had mental health issues for a very long time. After all, a guy who tattoos his head into a skull is not entirely stable. But instead of helping him, people like Lady Gaga, Jay-Z, Vogue, etc. exploited his mental illness for their own profit. They held up his freak appearance as something to celebrate and gawk at instead of as the outward expression of a troubled soul that it was. They behaved as modern day P.T. Barnums showcasing a museum of freaks for their own gain.
So… spare me the lecturing, Lady Gaga, about how I need to change the culture and erase the stigma. Some self-reflection from someone who actually knew the man would be more appropriate than lecturing the rest of us.