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Josh Marks dead; 'MasterChef' contestant was 26 and committed suicide, reports say

Josh Marks competes in the "MasterChef" season 3

Josh Marks competes in the "MasterChef" season 3 finale. (Credit: "MasterChef" Youtube channel)

Josh Marks, the runner-up with the big smile on season 3 of the Fox TV competition "MasterChef," was found dead on a Chicago street Friday night from a gunshot wound to the head later ruled a suicide, the Chicago Tribune reports.

Marks, 26, who stood 7-foot-2, had a lovable on-screen personality and was referred to as the "gentle giant" by his family, friends and fans. But he struggled with bipolar disorder and had an odd run-in with the law in July, when he was hospitalized for a mental evaluation and charged with multiple felonies after attacking a police officer while allegedly claiming to be possessed by "MasterChef" star Gordon Ramsay, according to media reports.

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

"He was a wonderful person and an incredible talent," representatives for the show added in a statement.

Marks' family had acknowledged his struggles before his death on his website, ishootonions.com, asking for prayers and donations for legal funds, saying: "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 . . .  The Josh that you are hearing about in recent police and media reports is not the spirited Gentle Giant that we know."

Marks lost the "MasterChef" title to Christine Ha, who tweeted: "Our thoughts and prayers go out to [Josh's] family. Thank you for respecting the privacy of his friends and family during this time."

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