Masterchef’s Josh Marks killed himself; was diagnosed with schizophrenia

Masterchef season three runner-up killed himself Friday in Chicago, the day after being released from a treatment program in which he was diagnosed with schizophrenia. He was 26.

The Chicago Tribune reports that “Marks suffered an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head and a revolver was found near his body,” and “an acquaintance and two relatives of the victim were on the scene and one of the relatives told police that the victim suffered from schizophrenia and bipolar disorder and he was distraught about something, police said.”

Josh’s mother, Paulette Mitchell, told the Chicago Tribune that after the show aired last year, Josh “began suffering from anxiety and was prescribed medication,” which “began a downward spiral that led to more serious mental illness diagnoses.” He “had completed an out-patient treatment program Thursday and had recently received a schizophrenia diagnosis. Doctors had told Marks earlier this year he suffered from bipolar disorder, she said.”

Josh’s family wrote on Facebook that “Josh was in the battle of his life fighting mental illness. 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.”

In July, Josh was arrested after a confrontation with police, and as the Tribune notes, “police say he claimed to have been possessed by MasterChef judge Gordon Ramsay who turned him into God.” After that, his family started a legal fund, saying Josh “has a tough battle ahead of him with the criminal charges that he is facing; and to the extent mental illness is a factor, we want to be sure that we can provide him with appropriate legal representation to help us navigate the sensitive legal challenges that lie ahead.”

Saturday, Gordon Ramsay wrote on Twitter, “Just heard the devastating news about Josh Marks. My thoughts are with his family & friends at this tragic time.”

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about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.