Joshua Marks, 'MasterChef' Runner-up, Commits Suicide At 26
Joshua Marks, who was a runner-up in MasterChef Season 3, died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound on Friday. He was 26.
Marks' body was discovered in an alley near South Peoria Avenue on Chicago’s South Side Friday evening. When police arrived at the scene, they found a revolver nearby. “Joshua Marks suffered a gunshot wound to the head and the manner of death was suicide," the Chicago Medical Examiner's office confirmed to People magazine. Marks mother, Paulette Michelle found him in the alley after a neighbor called her to alert her to the fact that her son was walking around with a gun outside.
Marks was first diagnosed with bipolar disorder a year ago shortly after his stint on MasterChef saw him lose to Christine Ha in the final round. This past February, Marks became a vocal part of suicide awareness cause Make a Sound Project. In a public service announcement, Marks opened up about how he used music to cope with his mental illness. "I have bipolar disorder, so, you know, I'll get a little anxious sometimes," he said. "And how I cool out is, I listen to music and just listen to the words and just relax and, you know, find my melody. I wish we had some music going on in here right now."
This past summer, Marks suffered a mental break on the University of Chicago campus. He allegedly punched a campus police officer and attempted to take his gun. Three officers in total tried to subdue him, but Marks managed to break their restraints and run off. It ultimately took five offers to apprehend him and take him into custody. During the incident, Marks reportedly claimed that MasterChef host Gordon Ramsay had possessed him and turned him into a god.
Just last week, Marks was diagnosed with schizophrenia. Mitchell, his mother, was unable to find Marks a full-time program, but eventually settled on an outpatient program. It was at the culmination of the program that Marks received the schizophrenia diagnosis, which deeply upset him. "He was just coming to terms with having been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, but he just couldn't handle this new diagnosis," Mitchell told CNN.
"I was concerned about him; he just wasn't himself, so I stayed with him at my dad's home Thursday night after we left the hospital and all day on Friday," she said. "I only left for a couple of hours to pick up my daughter from school Friday afternoon."
Marks' lawyer, Lisa Butler, blames both the mental health care system in the country, as well as the country’s gun control laws for his suicide. "It is overwhelming to think that with proper, intensive treatment, Joshua may still be with us," Butler said Sunday. "He was a jewel with so much talent to offer this world. But, in his state of mind, he turned to the streets for a gun and easily got it."
– Chelsea Regan