Mark Balelo, who appeared on Seasons Two and Three of A&E's reality series, Storage Wars, was found dead Monday, February 11, 2013 of an apparent suicide.
Balelo was found in a car in his southern California auction house, dead from asphyxia due to inhalation of carbon monoxide and exhaust fumes.
Just a few days earlier, on Saturday, police reportedly responded to a disturbance at Balelo, Inc., and arrested the 40-year-old reality TV star on suspicion of being under the influence of a controlled substance and possession of methamphetamine.
Balelo owned a liquidation, wholesale and distribution company, operated an auction house, and used to own The Game Exchange from 2009-2012. Although he was not one of the primary stars on Storage Wars, Balelo appeared on the show four times in the second season, and once in the third season.
On Storage Wars, Balelo was a big bidder who often brought as much as $50,000 to a single auction and earned the nick-name "Rico Suave" for his flashy fashion sense. He also had a reputation for playing dirty and running up prices.
Balelo's arrest and suicide are only the latest troubles to strike the A&E reality series. Earlier this year, former Storage Wars cast member Dave Hester accused the show's producers of fraud for allegedly staging and manipulating auctions.
According to his A&E bio, Balelo was born January 31, 1973, on Madeira Island in Portugal. When he was three he moved with his parents to Brazil, where he lived until he was fourteen. He came to the U.S. to pursue his education.
Balelo started selling items on eBay and eventually launched his own business. In 2011, he was instrumental in returning a rare 1938 Superman comic book to actress Nicholas Cage after it was stolen from the actor’s home and remained missing for a decade.