Zombie Boy's death was an accident: Coroner's report
MONTREAL – The death of Rick Genest, better known as Zombie Boy, was an accident, Coroner Mélissa Gagnon announced Monday.
Her report notes he died in August 2018 after sustaining a fatal head injury after falling from the balcony of a friend’s third-storey apartment in Montreal's Plateau-Mont-Royal borough. He was 32.
He was found “unconscious and bleeding” at the foot of the building by a passerby, Gagnon writes in the report.
Genest’s blood-alcohol level was 234 mg/dL (the legal limit to drive a vehicle is 80 mg/dL). The corner says cannabis was also detected in his blood.
During their investigation, Montreal police said they believed he died by suicide, something his friends and family repeatedly denied.
"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," said Genest's manager Karim Leduc Monday, reacting to the report. "It made absolutely no sense."
Though Gagnon mentioned in her report that she cannot rule out suicide, she did say 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,” she concluded, adding that a more feasible hypothesis was that he fell by accident.
“Some of Mr. Genest’s close friends indicated that he had a habit of sitting on the railing of the building’s balcony when he went out to smoke.”
Genest was known for the tattoos that covered his body from head to toe, many of which depicted parts of the skeletal structure, as well as the internal organs.
His unique appearance earned him a role in popstar Lady Gaga's video “Born This Way.” The visibility from the video led him to several modelling opportunities with large fashion designers.
After his death, Lady Gaga posted a message on Twitter, calling the news “beyond devastating," and apologized for referring to Genest's death as a suicide after Leduc asked her team to amend that statement.
Friends of the artist called him a “poet” who was always upfront about his mental health struggles.
Leduc said he was frustrated that the coroner's report took so long to come out, leaving many with the wrong impression.
"I'd like to know what took so long. I felt it was unfair to the family and unfair to the close ones to have such a long delay for what we felt were obvious facts," he said.
"To know that the world has the same side of the story that we have, it's a relief. Nonetheless, it stirs up all of the emotions we have gone through. It is very painful."
-- with files from CTV News Montreal's Matt Gilmour.