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Chicago MasterChef Josh Marks Falls To Mental Illness & A Gun

"MasterChef runner-up Joshua Marks was in 'the battle of his life fighting mental illness' when he killed himself Friday, his family said Sunday," CNN reports.

"His family blames the lack of mental health treatment facilities and the easy access to guns as factors in his tragic death."

Marks had become a public advocate for mental health treatment earlier this year.

(See the Beachwood's "A Master Chef's Mental Illness.")

Back to CNN:

"It is overwhelming to think that with proper, intensive treatment, Joshua may still be with us," his lawyer, Lisa Butler, said 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."

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.

He was charged with aggravated battery in July after scuffling with police officers who were called to the scene after he suffered serious facial wounds from a self-inflicted gunshot, according to his lawyer.

His mother believed that incident was a call for help, not a suicide attempt, Butler said. But getting Marks help was not easy because of the lack of full-time mental health facilities in Illinois that would accept his insurance, she said.

Marks' mother, Paulette Mitchell, found him dead in an alley on Chicago's south side Friday evening after a neighbor called to say he was walking around with a gun, Butler said.

His family is now hoping to help others suffering from mental illness by talking about what happened to Marks in the three months since his arrest, she said.

"I think people think mental illness is a crime," Marks' stepfather, Gabriel Mitchell, said, the Tribune reports.

Family members, speaking from their home near 31st Street and Indiana Avenue, said they wanted to go public about Marks' suicide to bring awareness to the lack of treatment options for the mentally ill. The family also hopes to start a foundation in Marks' name to educate others about mental illness.

After picking up Marks from a Mercy Hospital and Medical Center treatment program Thursday, Mitchell noticed her son was upset and stayed with him at her father's home that night. She spent most of Friday with him until leaving to pick up her daughter from school. A few hours later, she got a call from her brother, who had received reports Marks was walking in an alley with a gun.


The family posted this statement on Facebook:

Dear Family, Friends, Fans & Supporters of Josh Marks (The 7 Foot Chef),

Words cannot begin to express the loss we are feeling at Joshua's sudden passing. Gentle, God-fearing, loving, smart, kind, generous, ambitious and talented only scratch the surface describing the spirit and life of this wonderful young man. Joshua was always smiling. He was full of joy and his joy for life was contagious. He loved sharing that joy with his family, friends and even complete strangers through his passion...cooking. But, behind that huge smile, 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. Last night, Joshua's battle with mental illness came to an end. Our hearts are broken, but we know that our Gentle Giant is now at peace, taking his rest in Heaven; his earthly struggle with mental illness behind him.

At this extremely difficult time, we want you to know how very thankful we are for all of your supportive, kind words, thoughts and prayers. Knowing that Josh touched people with his magnetic personality and smile helps us push through this, but we ask that we be allowed private, quiet time and space to grieve our loss. We have received requests from many of Josh's friends and supporters for information on how to donate and help as we prepare to lay our precious Joshua to rest; any donations can be made by clicking on the PayPal link below.

Thank you again for caring about the life and spirit of our Josh. It is truly a blessing and a comfort to see how he touched so many of you.


Funeral services are set for Monday at Apostolic Church of God.


Comments welcome.


Posted on October 15, 2013

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