Josh Marks, last season's Master Chef runner up, was found dead with a single gunshot wound to the head in what police are calling a suicide.
- (Photo: Twitter)
Marks, 26, died from a gunshot wound to his head. His death has been ruled a suicide, a spokesman for the Cook County, Illinois, medical examiner said Sunday.
According to family members Marks was in "the battle of his life fighting mental illness" before he lost that fight and killed himself on Friday.
Those close to Marks are highlighting the lack of mental care treatment facilities and options as a leading contributor do his death.
Getting Marks help was not easy due to the lack of full-time mental health facilities in Illinois that would accept his insurance, family sources said.
"It is overwhelming to think that with proper, intensive treatment, Joshua may still be with us," his lawyer, Lisa Butler, said in a statement 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."
"Joshua was so kind, so gentle," his mother, Paulette Mitchell, told CNN. "He loved life. He loved people. He would never hurt anyone; never. He was just a gentle, sweet soul; but he hurt himself. That breaks my heart, that he hurt himself."
Marks was diagnosed with bipolar disorder a year ago, the same month he lost to winner Christine Ha in the final round of the cooking competition. A doctor diagnosed Marks with schizophrenia just last week, Butler said.
"Behind that huge smile, Josh was in the battle of his life fighting mental illness," a family statement said. "It was extremely tough, but Josh was always positive, focused on his faith in God and determined to win; pushing forward through his illness to follow his passion for cooking and dream of being a renowned chef."