The death of Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way” music video model Rick Genest rocked headlines last year, but now a coroner has officially ruled his death as an accident.
Rick Genest, who was perhaps better known as “Zombie Boy,” was only six days away from turning 33 at the time of his passing.
According to Quebec coroner Melissa Gagnon’s report, Genest suffered head trauma after falling from the third-floor balcony of a relative’s apartment in Le Plateau-Mont-Royal on August 1, 2018.
The 32-year-old Canadian model, actor, and musician was reportedly heavily intoxicated before his fall. In fact, toxicology results showed that his blood alcohol level was almost triple the legal limit, in addition to cannabis.
The coroner reported that “it is plausible that Mr. Genest accidentally fell from the balcony” considering “his very advanced state of inebriation.”
The coroner also pointed out that some of Genest’s friends said that he would sometimes hear voices, especially when he used substances, but “Mr. Genest did not seem to be in a state of psychosis or delirium when he went out on the balcony.” Despite his issues, Genest had never sought treatment for substance abuse through any inpatient rehab centers.
At the time of his death, rumors began to swirl that the model had committed suicide, especially since past medical records showed he had sought help for mental health problems before.
In fact, the tragic accident was largely reported to have been intentional. Even Lady Gaga herself spoke out about the incident, posting some emotional messages on Twitter about her late friend and the importance of mental health advocacy.
She wrote that Genest’s passing was “beyond devastating,” and noted the importance of bringing “mental health to the forefront and erase the stigma that we can’t talk about it.” She also urged anyone suffering to “call a friend or family today. We must save each other.”
However, Genest’s family spoke out saying that they believed his passing was accidental, despite what Lady Gaga or news outlets were reporting.
Genest’s manager, Karim Leduc, spoke on behalf of his “family and close entourage” when she said that there were “too many inconsistencies” to rule it as such, and “for people to jump to conclusions that rapidly was disappointing.”
Leduc also explained that “the balcony from which he fell on the third floor was a very dangerous balcony.” She also stated that the balcony had “very small rails/guards,” but Genest was “leaning his back towards it like sitting on the ledge of the rail, and he fell from his backside onto the floor.”
Lady Gaga later issued an apology for speaking out too soon and jumping to conclusions, “as there was no witnesses or evidence to support any conclusion for the cause of is death.”