Skip to main content

'MasterChef' runner-up Joshua Marks dies from gunshot

By Alan Duke, CNN
October 13, 2013 -- Updated 1930 GMT (0330 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: A project leader rues 'mistake' in dropping Marks after his arrest
  • Investigators have not yet ruled whether Marks' death was suicide
  • Marks publicly acknowledged suffering from bipolar disorder
  • The 26-year-old chef was arrested in July after a scuffle with police

(CNN) -- "MasterChef" runner-up Joshua Marks was found dead of a gunshot to his head in an alley on Chicago's south side Friday night, police said Saturday.

Investigators have not yet ruled whether Marks, who has publicly acknowledged suffering from bipolar disorder, committed suicide, Chicago Police spokesman John Mirabelli told CNN.

Marks, 26, lost to winner Christine Ha in the final round of the Fox reality cooking competition's third season.

His death comes three months after he was arrested following a scuffle with several Chicago police officers, according to the Chicago Tribune. Marks told police he had been possessed by "MasterChef" judge Gordon Ramsay, who turned him into God, the newspaper reported.

Ramsay posted a message on his Twitter account Saturday reacting to Marks' death: "Just heard the devastating news about Josh Marks. My thoughts are with his family & friends at this tragic time."

Marks -- who at 7-foot-2 was known by friends as "a gentle giant" -- spoke about his mental illness in a public service video he recorded for the Make a Sound Project, a suicide awareness program.

The project promotes "how to use music as an alternative to the crazy thoughts you may have going in you mind," Marks said in the video. "Me personally, I have bipolar disorder, so, you know, I'll get a little anxious sometimes, and how I cool out is, I listen to music and just listen to the words and just relax and, you know, find my melody. I wish we had some music going on in here right now."

But after Marks was arrested, project founder Mike Castaneda told a reporter he was removing Marks from the venture, but on Saturday, Castaneda described his comment as "a poor statement."

A media outlet "had contacted us and made the statement, 'Is it safe to say you're dropping Josh in light of recent events' to which I ignorantly replied immediately, 'yes.' It wasn't the thought that I would actually drop Josh, especially being as that he's a friend of mine. I know I should have used better wording just knowing that I couldn't use him for events until he was through his situation and healthy again," Castaneda said in an e-mail to CNN.

"He has been a good friend to me and though I've made a mistake I would hope that Josh would feel the same way," Castaneda added. "I will miss Josh more than any one will know. I just pray through this more will come to seek help before it's too late."
Detectives are talking to witnesses and examining security camera video from near where Marks' body was found, Mirabelli said.

A determination of suicide would not be made until an autopsy is completed this weekend, he said.

People we've lost in 2013

CNN's KJ Matthews contributed to this report.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
January 6, 2014 -- Updated 0030 GMT (0830 HKT)
Click through our gallery to remember those we lost this year.
January 2, 2014 -- Updated 0055 GMT (0855 HKT)
Actor James Avery, who played the beloved Uncle Phil on the hit 1990s sitcom "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air," has died. He was 67.
January 1, 2014 -- Updated 1959 GMT (0359 HKT)
Dr. John W.V. Cordice, the surgeon who operated on Dr. Martin Luther King after he was stabbed in Harlem in 1958, died in Iowa. Cordice was 95.
January 2, 2014 -- Updated 0128 GMT (0928 HKT)
Joseph Ruskin died of natural causes in a Santa Monica, California, hospital. He was 89.
January 1, 2014 -- Updated 2119 GMT (0519 HKT)
Jeffrey Ian Pollack, who directed the popular 1990s films "Booty Call" and "Above the Rim" and produced "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" has died. He was 54.
December 23, 2013 -- Updated 2300 GMT (0700 HKT)
Mikhail Kalashnikov, the Russian gun designer whose AK-47 rifle became the weapon of choice for many national armies and guerrillas around the world, died.
December 22, 2013 -- Updated 1153 GMT (1953 HKT)
Ned Vizzini, who shot to fame at a young age for his teenage novels focusing on youth depression and anxieties, committed suicide at age 32.
December 19, 2013 -- Updated 2137 GMT (0537 HKT)
Al Goldstein, the foul-mouthed publisher of Screw magazine and pornography pioneer died in New York. He was 77.
December 31, 2013 -- Updated 2053 GMT (0453 HKT)
Actor Daniel Escobar, who played a teacher in "Lizzie McGuire," died from complications of diabetes in Los Angeles. He was 49.
December 19, 2013 -- Updated 0041 GMT (0841 HKT)
"Great Train Robber" Ronnie Biggs -- one of the most notorious British criminals of the 20th century -- has died, his publisher told CNN. He was 84.
December 17, 2013 -- Updated 0117 GMT (0917 HKT)
Ray Price, the Nashville star whose trademark "shuffle" beat became a country music staple, has died at age 87, his agent said.
December 17, 2013 -- Updated 0223 GMT (1023 HKT)
Oscar-winning actress Joan Fontaine died, her longtime friend Noel Beutel said. She was 96.
December 16, 2013 -- Updated 1240 GMT (2040 HKT)
Actor Peter O'Toole died peacefully in a hospital at 81 years old.
December 16, 2013 -- Updated 1238 GMT (2038 HKT)
Tom Laughlin, the actor who wrote and starred in the "Billy Jack" films of the 1970s, died at age 82.
December 12, 2013 -- Updated 0056 GMT (0856 HKT)
Jazz guitarist Jim Hall, who played with the jazz greats of the 20th century and influenced the younger ones, has died, his family said. He was 83.
December 10, 2013 -- Updated 1346 GMT (2146 HKT)
Actress Eleanor Parker, nominated for three Oscars and known for her "Sound of Music" role, died Monday at 91, her family said.
December 6, 2013 -- Updated 0440 GMT (1240 HKT)
Freedom fighter, statesman, moral compass and South Africa's symbol of the struggle against racial oppression.
December 5, 2013 -- Updated 0218 GMT (1018 HKT)
Bill Beckwith, who co-hosted HGTV home-improvement show "Curb Appeal," has died. He was 38.
December 2, 2013 -- Updated 1458 GMT (2258 HKT)
Actor Paul Walker, who shot to fame as star of the high-octane street racing franchise "Fast & Furious," died in a car crash in Southern California. He was 40.
November 30, 2013 -- Updated 2239 GMT (0639 HKT)
Paul F. Crouch, co-founder of the Trinity Broadcasting Network, died at age 79.
November 29, 2013 -- Updated 2342 GMT (0742 HKT)
Jane Kean, who played diverse roles during a long career but was best known as Trixie on the TV revival of "The Honeymooners," has died. She was 90.
November 25, 2013 -- Updated 1244 GMT (2044 HKT)
Singer Wayne Mills, whose "outlaw country" songs center on honky-tonk life, died in a Nashville bar shooting.
ADVERTISEMENT