Reality Show Contestant Commits Suicide CNN

A man who became a familiar face on prime-time TV as a contestant on a reality show has committed suicide. CNN reports that Joshua Marks, who was a runner-up on the Fox show "MasterChef" a year ago, committed suicide Friday.

His family blamed easy access to guns and a lack of mental health treatment facilities as contributing factors in his death, the story says. Marks, 26, died from a gunshot wound to his head.

"It is overwhelming to think that with proper, intensive treatment, Joshua may still be with us," Lisa Butler, his attorney, 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' death has been ruled a suicide. He was diagnosed with bipolar disorder last year, during the same month he lost in the final round of "MasterChef" to Christine Ha, the story reports. Just last week he was diagnosed with schizophrenia, according to Butler.

"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," the story reports. "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."

The report adds: "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."

joshua marks masterchef.jpgJoshua Marks