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Arts and Entertainment

'Storage Wars' Star Found Dead of Apparent Suicide

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Mark Balelo, the owner of a Simi Valley merchandise liquidation business who made several appearances on the popular A&E series "Storage Wars," was found dead Monday of an apparent suicide. He was 40 years old.

Balelo's body was found at his workplace, and an autopsy is slated for Tuesday, reports the Ventura County Star. According to TMZ Balelo took his own life by carbon monoxide poisoning; Balelo was allegedly found dead in his car, "which was parked and running in the garage at his auction house" in Simi Valley.

Times had been turbulent lately for Balelo, who "was arrested Saturday in connection with possession of methamphetamine," and was due in court February 19. TMZ adds that Balelo was reportedly distraught after the arrest and his release on Saturday, and had "asked his fiancée to come over because he was afraid he might hurt himself." They spoke in person Sunday, and Balelo seemed to be in better spirits.

An employee allegedly found Balelo's body the next day.

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The Huffington Post has more info on Balelo's eclectic professional persona:

Nicknamed "Rico Suave" for his flamboyant style, Balelo once hosted a live auction right before Halloween while dressed as Superman. He carried a "man purse" (or "murse"), which he considered his good-luck bag; the murses became so popular with fans that he later sold them on eBay. Balelo also was instrumental in helping Nicolas Cage recover a mint-condition copy of a 1938 Action Comics book that was stolen from the actor's storage locker. The comic book was valued at $1 million.