MasterChef Runner-Up Found Dead

Deborah Bayliss | 10/15/2013, 4:48 p.m.
Monday morning brought news of the a death of a young South Side celebrity chef who was found Friday morning ...
Chef Josh Marks

Monday morning brought news of the a death of a young South Side celebrity chef who was found Friday morning in an alley with a gunshot wound to the head.

The death of Josh Marks, the seven-foot tall, season three contestant and first runner-up on the "MasterChef," reality cooking show, was ruled a suicide by the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office, according to news reports.

Mike Sullivan of the Chicago Police Department news affairs confirmed that police responded to a call at 6:37 p.m. Oct. 11, on the 9700 block of S. Peoria Avenue and found a male they described as in his 20s with a gun-shoot wound to the head.


Celebrity Chef Josh Marks and Larissa M. Tyler, Managing Editor, Chicago Citizen Newspaper/QBG Foundation Exec. Dir. pose at a recent cooking event on Chicago’s South side.

Marks' mother, Paulette Mitchell, according to the Huffington Post, said her son was hit hard by his recent diagnosis of schizophrenia following a bipolar disorder diagnosis earlier this year.

An outpouring of surprise and sympathy remarks are posted on Marks’ MasterChef, Facebook Page.

In a bizarre, July 29th incident, according to a University of Chicago police report, Marks, 26, was arrested by the University of Chicago Police Department (UCPD) at approximately 3:50 a.m. after he attacked and attempted to disarm a UCPD officer at 5428 S. Kimbark Ave. Marks was charged by the Cook County state's attorney's office with two counts aggravated battery to a police officer and one count attempting to disarm a police office. “He was charged by the state’s attorney’s office because the charges are felonies,” said Lisa Gordon, spokesperson for the state’s attorney’s office.

The case was up in court on Wednesday, when Judge Carol Howard granted a continuance to Nov. 6.

Marks, a self-taught chef, was ordered to undergo a mental health assessment in August to determine if he was mentally fit to stand trial after he was accused of attacking a cop at the University of Chicago.

Marks was runner-up to winner Christine Ha during the third season of the competitive reality series "MasterChef.''

“I am terribly saddened by the loss of Josh,” said Larissa M. Tyler, Managing Editor of the Chicago Citizen Newspaper. “I recently met him at a cooking event and we became fast friends. He shared a fantastic meatloaf recipe with me that day, so as you can imagine, the news of his death is very shocking.”

Excerpts from a letter on Mark’s Facebook page before his death read: Dear Family, Friends, Fans & Supporters of Josh Marks (The 7 Foot Chef), We want you to know how very thankful we are for your supportive words, thoughts and prayers for our Gentle Giant, Josh. Josh currently remains hospitalized, but he is fighting toward healing. We are working closely with medical professionals to determine if recent incidents could be related to mental health symptoms and we are so thankful that everyone involved in the incident is safe. Our primary concern is Josh; his health, well-being and getting him proper medical treatment and legal representation. As you know, Josh is an amazing, gentle and talented young man. He comes from a very close-knit family; is a cum laude graduate of Tugaloo College and is passionate involving himself in projects to help communities. We are at his side to give him any support that he needs right now. The Josh that you are hearing about in recent police and media reports is not the spirited Gentle Giant that we know.
Thank you again for supporting and caring about the well-being of our Josh. It is truly a blessing to see how he has touched so many of you. The Family of Joshua Marks