CNN reports that Friday evening, MasterChef season-three runner-up Josh Marks was found dead in Chicago from a single gunshot wound to the head. The death has been ruled a suicide. Marks had recently gone public with the news of his mental illness following an altercation with police over the summer, and reportedly had been diagnosed with schizophrenia last week.
In July, the aspiring restaurateur was arrested by University of Chicago police officers responding to calls about suspicious behavior. Marks allegedly told officers that Gordon Ramsay had “transformed him into God.”
The self-taught, 26-year-old chef was called “loving, smart, kind, generous, ambitious and talented” in a heartbreaking Facebook statement describing his struggles with bipolar disorder posted by his family. His mother tells CNN that last week Marks had completed an outpatient mental health program and had reacted strongly to the diagnosis of schizophrenia. She discovered his body in a South Side alley after a neighbor called to say he’d been spotted walking outside with a gun.
Marks’s family told CNN that the toll of being on a reality-television show was “extremely stressful” and that limited access to adequate mental health treatment combined with widespread availability of guns contributed to the suicide. An outpouring of support followed the announcement of his death, including statements from Fox and MasterChef host Gordon Ramsay, who conveyed sympathies on Twitter.
Donations to support treatment for mental-health patients can be made on Marks’s website — the homepage of which has not yet been updated following his suicide.