October 14, 2013 03:17:52 GMT
Marks' family says that the 7-foot-2 'gentle giant' was in 'the battle of his life fighting mental illness' before he committed suicide in Chicago.
Josh Marks, who competed on "MasterChef" in 2012, has died. Marks was pronounced dead on Friday, October 11 because of self-inflicted gunshot. Marks' lawyer, Lisa Butler, said on Sunday that the lack of mental health treatment facilities and easy access to gun contributed to his death.
"It is overwhelming to think that with proper, intensive treatment, Joshua may still be with us. 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," Butler said, as quoted by CNN.
Marks' mother Paulette Mitchell explained that her son, whom she called a "gentle giant," would never hurt anyone. "Joshua was so kind, so gentle. 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," the grieving mother stated.
Marks was diagnosed with bipolar disorder around the same time he became a runner-up to Christine Ha on the cooking show and received schizophrenia diagnosis recently. "Behind that huge smile, Josh was in the battle of his life fighting mental illness," read a statement from his family. "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."
Marks was found dead in a Chicago alleyway on Friday with a revolver near his body. An autopsy was performed and authorities ruled his death as suicide. "Joshua Marks suffered a gunshot wound to the head and the manner of death was suicide," the Chicago Medical Examiner's office confirmed.
"Just heard the devastating news about Josh Marks. My thoughts are with his family & friends at this tragic time," Gordon Ramsay, "MasterChef" judge, wrote on Twitter following the sad news. The FOX cooking competition also released a statement, saying that Marks had "incredible talent."