Lady Gaga and Rick "Zombie Boy" Genest in the 'Born This Way' music video. Picture: Twitter

Lady Gaga says the suicide of Zombie Boy - who starred in her 'Born This Way' music video - is "beyond devastating".

Heavily tattooed 32-year-old model Rick Genest - who became a good friend of Gaga's after appearing in her 'Born This Way' music video - was found dead by Montreal Police at his apartment in Plateau-Mont-Royal, Canada, on Wednesday, after reportedly taking his own life.

Gaga shared a number of pictures of them together on Twitter and wrote: "The suicide of friend Rick Genest, Zombie Boy is beyond devastating. We have to work harder to change the culture, bring Mental Health to the forefront and erase the stigma that we can't talk about it."

And she urged those suffering with mental health problems or suicidal thoughts, to ask for help. 

She wrote: "If you are suffering, call a friend or family today. We must save each other.

"Science tells us that it takes 21 days to form a habit, if you are suffering from Mental Health issue I beckon for today to be your first day or a continuation of the work you've been doing. Reach out if you're in pain, and if you know someone who is, reach out to them too.

"Kindness and mental health aren't one time practices. They aren't just to do list items. This fall, in partnership with @btwfoundation, I'll explore the power of habits to build cultures of kindness and wellness. Sign up to learn more."

Rick previously revealed his love of tattoos was inspired by his near-death experience at the age of 15, when he was diagnosed with a potentially fatal brain tumour.

He said: "I guess this spiralled me into becoming obsessed with the morbid and macabre. 

"As it happened, the operation to remove the tumour went without a hitch, but since then, I've known life was too short to not fulfil my dreams of tattoos and body modifications."

He got his first tattoo just months after his life-saving operation at the age of 16 and three years later had covered his entire body in ink.

The nickname Zombie Boy was given to him by his friends when he was younger.

He said: "I was then nicknamed Zombie by my friends. When you're messing around on the streets and getting in trouble, you have a nickname to cover yourself.

"Zombie came from my love of punk and skulls." 

His big break as a model came when he was spotted by Lady Gaga's stylist Nicola Formichetti, who was also the creative director for Thierry Mugler, in 2010. 

He went on to appear in Gaga's 2011 'Born This Way' video, along with a number of fashion campaigns and had bit parts in some movies and TV shows.