To tattoo fans, Scott Marshall was the F-bombingly cocky winner of Season 4 of Spike TV’s “Ink Master.”
But his wife said she and his children remember the Glendale Heights native as a loving father and husband. “He knew how to make each one of those kids just shine,” Johanna Marshall said. “This man was such a beautiful soul. I knew I could feel the love — not just him saying he loved me.”
She was notified of his death Sunday night, at a Roselle hotel, by police in the west suburb. He worked at Roselle Tattoo Company. On Saturday, he’d told her he wasn’t feeling well, so she told him to stay at a hotel rather than drive the 40 miles to their home in a far southwest suburb.
“He just went to sleep and didn’t wake up,” said Johanna Marshall, who was married to him for 11 years.
“It was heart failure,” said his brother, Christopher. “We never knew about it.”
He didn’t engage in risky or unhealthy habits, Johanna Marshall said. “It was very unexpected. A very unexpected loss.”
The DuPage County coroner’s office was awaiting autopsy results.
Mr. Marshall, 41, grew up in Glendale Heights. His artistic talent showed by the time he went to Glenside Middle School, his brother said.
“He did an art competition for a plumbing company looking for a logo, fifth or sixth grade, and won second place,” Christopher Marshall said.
Mr. Marshall went to Glenbard North High School, where he hung out with the headbangers.
“We had some pretty bad hairstyles,” his brother said.
Young Scott Marshall played in a band called Spacebug Thugs.
“He was a great drummer,” his brother said. “If it wasn’t for the tattooing, he could have easily been a professional musician. Scott would make the backdrop, airbrush everything and create the posters for the shows.”
They liked to ride their bikes and hang out at Tommy’s Red Hots in “the Heights.”
He loved old-school metal such as Metallica, Motorhead and Pantera. They went to see the band Rush so often they lost count, his brother said. Lately, he liked a Maryland band, Clutch.
In 1998, he graduated from Chicago’s American Academy of Art. A year later, he got his first tattoo. “Once he realized he could do it and was good at it, it just came alive from then on,” Christopher Marshall said.
Scott Marshall met his future wife when she came in to Roselle Tattoo for a design she said she treasures.
“He’s just a very good-looking guy, and we started talking and laughed,” Johanna Marshall said.
She told him she wanted a sword going through a rose, and he inked one on her leg.
In a video biography that introduced him to the “Ink Master” audience, he stressed his virtuosity and versatility.
“I do all types of tattooing. I like traditional, Japanese, portraits, black-and-gray,” he said. “You can put five traditional tattoos in a pile, and you’re going to know which one is mine in any category. . . .I’m very competitive. . . .They’d better bring their A game because I’m going to.”
His brash persona wasn’t what he was like in real life, said Jim Francis of Milwaukee Ink, a fellow “Ink Master” competitor.
“He loved his wife,” Francis said. “He loved his kids. He loved having fun and laughing all the time.”
“Ink Master” host Dave Navarro tweeted condolences Tuesday to the Marshalls, saying, “I am very sad to report that Inkmaster and friend Scott Marshall has passed away.”
“Spike and entire Ink Master family are stunned and saddened by the news of Scott’s passing,” Spike TV officials said. “He was a great competitor and talented artist. Our deepest condolences go out to the Marshall family and friends.”
Mr. Marshall is also survived by another brother, Jeffrey; his children, Nadya and Abrielle; a stepson, Victor; and his parents, Beverly and Gregory Marshall.