Most will remember him as the shockingly tall finalist from the third Season of MasterChef, but now Josh Marks is dead after an apparent suicide. He was found Friday evening in an alley in Chicago with a gunshot wound to his head. Police were able to locate a revolver nearby.
Marks first became known after an impressive run on the FOX reality show MasterChef. His innovative, risk taking approach to cuisine won him notoriety but ultimately got him eliminated in episode 12. His departure was short lived, however, as he was able to win the re-entry competition in episode 14 and he rejoined his competitors as a force to be reckoned with. He went on to compete in the finale against another season favorite, Christine Ha. He put up a good fight, but the victory would be hers after Marks’ risk taking approach neglected some of the more basic techniques, such as fully cooking the lobster.
After his stint on MasterChef, Marks continued cooking and went on to become involved with a couple of charities, including being a spokesperson for the Make A Sound Project. Through this project, he released a video in which he touched on his diagnosis of bipolar disorder and his love of music as a coping mechanism during his more anxious moments.
The purpose of the organization is to bring awareness to suicide. The announcement that Josh Marks is dead by his own hand drives home the importance of the mission for suicide intervention and prevention that this MasterChef finalist lent his face to in the months preceding his death.
The last few months had seen a downward spiral for Marks, whose run ins with the law seemed to indicate that he was struggling with the mental illness that he so recently revealed to be battling.
In June, it is reported that he was arrested after repeatedly entering a condominium complex that he had no residence in. He was charged with trespassing following his arrest.
Late July saw a much more serious encounter with police. He was spotting trying to summon help via telephone and was approached by an officer only to tackle him, punch him repeatedly in the face and attempt to take his gun. Another officer tried to intervene using a baton and pepper spray but Marks ran off and was later taken into custody in a nearby yard. It took five officers to subdue him. He insisted that Gordon Ramsey, a judge on MasterChef and TV personality, had possessed him and made him god and was subsequently hospitalized in order to monitor his mental state.
Following this arrest he was charged with much more serious crimes including resisting arrest and assault. He also lost many of his sponsorships due to his tarnished image.
Then, in the early evening of October 11, 2014, police responded to a call in which a woman was screaming for help and found Marks’ body laying on the ground in an alley on South Peoria Avenue. Josh Marks, the former MasterChef finalist, self taught chef, and mental health activist was pronounced dead at the scene. He was 26.
Written by: Vanessa Blanchard