Rick 'Zombie Boy' Genest’s family believe the model accidentally fell to his death
Although Rick “Zombie Boy” Genest was found dead in his home on Wednesday following an apparent suicide, his family believes his death was accidental.
“For us, the family and close entourage, we feel there’s too many inconsistencies around his death to rule it as a suicide, and for people to jump to conclusions that rapidly was disappointing,” Genest’s manager Karim Leduc told PEOPLE. He also confirmed that the 32-year-old actor and model, who famously appeared in Lady Gaga’s “Born this Way” music video, died after falling off a balcony in Montreal.
“The balcony from which he fell on the third floor was a very dangerous balcony,” Leduc added. “Just three weeks ago, I visited that balcony with him and was on it with him smoking a cigarette, as well. It’s a balcony that has very small rails/guards — an emergency/fire escape balcony – and he was leaning his back towards it like sitting on the ledge of the rail, and he fell from his backside onto the floor.”
The manager later clarified that the balcony was located “on the backside of the building,” and was not available solely for Genest’s personal use.
Both the Canadian authorities and Lady Gaga have stated that the death was a suicide, but Leduc claimed Genest “didn’t jump from the third floor like they’re making it seem,” adding that the 32-year-old model and actor “didn’t leave any notes” and had “actually made plans for a couple things that week.”
“He’s not someone who, we feel, would commit suicide; he’s not someone who would do something like that because he’s very thoughtful of others,” Genest’s manager remarked. “Even though he was going through some very difficult, emotion[al] periods at the time, he hung on.”
“He’s a trooper. He was always hanging on. For us, it’s just very difficult to jump to conclusion[s],” he continued, adding that “it’s between him and God as to what happened” as there were no witnesses to Genest’s death.
Genest’s manager also tells PEOPLE that on Wednesday morning, he received a “beautiful” Facebook message from Genest, “saying that he appreciated our relationship.”
“I responded to his message at 10:30 in the morning, but he didn’t have his phone on him that day, I guess, and didn’t see my responses, and then it happened around 5 o’clock that evening,” he said, adding that before his death, Genest “was with his girlfriend in her apartment and he told her, ‘I’m gonna go on the balcony and have a cigarette.’ ”
“After he was gone an unusually long time, she went to check up on him and she saw him on the ground at the bottom. She’s the one that ran up to him. She’s in a complete state of shock at the hospital now,” he explained.
The manager went on to claim that at the time of his death, Genest “was sober” and “his blood came out completely clean.”
“For us, it’s just a shock,” he added.
In a separate statement obtained by PEOPLE from Dulcedo Management, who represented Genest, they wrote that “contrary to reports,” the classification of Genest’s death “is yet to be determined.”
Confirming that the model and actor’s death occurred in Montreal’s Plateau-Mont Royal neighborhood on Wednesday afternoon, they shared that after receiving “the bad news,” they rushed to “support his family and loved ones.”
“We want to offer them our deepest condolences. Dulcedo Management is shocked and saddened by this tragedy,” they continued. “Zombie Boy, Rico, was loved by everyone who had the chance to meet and know him. Icon in the artistic scene and in the fashion and entertainment industries, this innovator has charmed all hearts.”
“As you can expect, this is an incredibly difficult time for everyone involved. We ask that the privacy of his family be respected as they grieve and in the next coming days, an official statement will be made by his family,” they added.
Following news of his death, Lady Gaga penned a touching tribute to Genest on Thursday, stating that he had taken his own life.
“The suicide of friend Rick Genest, Zombie Boy is beyond devastating,” she tweeted. “We have to work harder to change the culture, bring Mental Health to the forefront and erase the stigma that we can’t talk about it.”
“If you’re suffering, call a friend or family today,” she added. “We must save each other.”
Additionally, following Genest’s death on Thursday, a post was shared on his Instagram page, featuring a photo of a dark background and a ring of light.
“—THE WELL— o Damballa lo we howl upon stars hung above we soul cast down the well of stone as fire laid betwixt two fates of most drear less dire straights each breath cuts ice as flesh is weighed in front of deaths old narrow gates where bold and brazen last rites crate,” the poem read.
“Lo heed our wish of madness deep from os our prayers we kissed so stern and cold on metal shells release by moonlight glow — Zombie Boy,” it ended. It is possible the model used an app to schedule the post on Instagram after his death.
The poem has since been deleted, though a member of his management team tells PEOPLE the post has been archived and will be reloaded in a few weeks “as we rebuild ourselves.”
If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), text “help” to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 or go to suicidepreventionlifeline.org.
This article originally appeared on People.com