Born and raised in Quebec, Genest was famous for the ghoulish “corpse” tattoos that covered 90 percent of his body and face. At 15 he was diagnosed with a brain tumor, which he had surgically removed through an incision in the roof of his mouth. He got his first tattoo at 16, quit school at 17, and joined the local punk scene.
In 2011, he appeared in the video for Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way.” Gaga took to Twitter to share the tragic news and call for a greater understanding of mental health issues and to “erase the stigma that we can’t talk about it.” Read her posts below.
Genest modeled for French fashion designer Thierry Mugler, appeared in Vogue Japan, and in 2012 became the face of JAY-Z’s Rocawear fashion label. He also, notably, covered our very own Highsnobiety magazine on our fourth issue.
If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, there are resources to help you. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline provides free and confidential support for people in distress 24/7, and prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones. You can call directly at 1-800-273-8255. In the UK, you can contact Samaritans at 116-123.