Josh Marks’ death: Gordon Ramsay, ‘MasterChef’ execs mourn loss

While an investigation continued into the circumstances surrounding the suspected suicide of “MasterChef” finalist Josh Marks, he was mourned Saturday by Chef Gordon Ramsay and “MasterChef” executives who worked closely with the gentle giant during the show’s third season.

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

A statement released on behalf of “MasterChef,” its production companies, and Fox echoed that sentiment. “All of us at MasterChef, Shine America, One Potato, Two Potato and Fox are incredibly saddened by the news of Josh Marks’ passing. He was a wonderful person and an incredible talent. Our hearts and prayers go out to his family and friends.”

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Meanwhile, the Chicago Police Department’s investigation continues. Authorities have not yet officially released the identity of the man found dead on Chicago’s South Side of a suspected self-inflicted gunshot wound. The weapon was found with the body.


But TMZ reported that its sources identified the body as Marks, 26, the sweet-natured chef that at 7-foot-2-inches towered over his competition during Season 3 of “MasterChef,” making it to the finale, where he lost to blind competitor Christine Ha.

Marks’ bright smile helped make him a fan favorite, but it appears to have also hidden a troubled side, as evidenced by a fundraising appeal posted on his website, which has not been updated since his death, and he struggled with a bipolar disorder.

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Earlier this summer, Marks was taken into custody and hospitalized following a bizarre encounter with law enforcement in Chicago. It took five officers to subdue him as he made rambling statements about Ramsay and talked about being a god. It was a headline-making incident that reportedly led several sponsors to drop him.

Marks’ death follows on the heels of several other high-profile incidents jarring the reality TV world. “Bachelor” star Gia Allemand took her life this summer. And, on a far less serious note, “Hell’s Kitchen” winner Ja’Nel Witt did not take the plum job assignment offered her, allegedly due to personal problems.

Such incidents are rare. But they are nonetheless poised to revive longstanding concerns about reality TV show casting, and the wisdom of plucking men and women from quiet, and perhaps troubled, lives and thrusting them into the harsh spotlight for entertainment’s sake.


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