Josh Marks, the very tall and extremely talented amateur cook that came in a close second to Season 3 winner Christine Ha on Fox Television's "MasterChef," was found dead in a Chicago alley, authorities say. CNN reported Oct. 13 that Marks might have been the victim of suicide, the police having found the 26-year-old cook's with a single gunshot wound to the head.
Chicago police say Josh Marks -- who was unidentified at the time -- was found by officers responding to a frantic 911 call made by a woman Friday evening.
TMZ reported that police found a weapon nearby. The gossip website would later update the tragic story with a report from the Chicago Medical Examiner, who confirmed that the body of the victim was indeed that of Josh Marks and that the manner of death was suicide.
Investigators at the scene were already operating on the assumption of suicide, especially after Marks was identified. However, they were reluctant to rule the shooting a suicide until more evidence could be collected.
Marks suffered from bipolar disorder, a condition he publicly acknowledged. He spoke of his mental illness in a public service video he recorded for the suicide awareness program Make a Sound Project.
The disorder undoubtedly contributed to the young man's arrest in July when he allegedly assaulted a University of Chicago police officer and attempted to take his gun. After five officers subdued the 7-foot-2-inch Marks, a man whom friends referred to as a "gentle giant," he told police, according to the Chicago Tribune, that Chef Gordon Ramsay had possessed his body and turned him into God.
Josh Marks became a celebrity after appearing on Ramsay's hit show "MasterChef" during its third season. Although originally eliminated, Marks battled back onto the show during a Wild Card round between several cast-offs. He would eventually finish as runner-up to the remarkable Christine Ha, an amateur home cook who was legally blind.
As Us Weekly noted (via Yahoo OMG), Josh Marks appears to be the third chef from a Gordon Ramsay show that has committed suicide.
In 2010, 43-year-old Joseph Cerniglia, a New Jersey restauranteur who was featured on Ramsay's "Kitchen Nightmares," was found dead after jumping off the George Washington Bridge. In 2007, "Hell's Kitchen" Season 2 star Rachel Brown, 41, shot herself in her family's Dallas home.
As for Ramsay, the renowned chef took to Twitter upon hearing of Josh Marks' death. "Just heard the devastating news about Josh Marks," he wrote. "My thoughts are with his family & friends at this tragic time."