Balelo was found dead in his car, which was parked and running inside the garage of his auction house in Simi Valley, Calif. The cause of death is listed as asphyxia by inhalation of carbon monoxide and exhaust fumes, according to the medical examiner. He was 40 years old.
Balelo was arrested Saturday for being under the influence of a controlled substance and possession of methamphetamine. He was scheduled to appear in court on Feb. 19.
When he was released from jail, Balelo was said to be “distraught,” according to TMZ, and called his fiancee to “come over because he was afraid he might hurt himself.” The story says the two were together in his office on Sunday, and after several hours, he seemed “better” and she left that evening.
Balelo’s body was discovered Monday morning by one of his employees.
The auction house owner was featured on several episodes of the A&E series over the past few seasons, where he was nicknamed “Rico Suave” by the other buyers, allegedly because he always dressed up and showed up with large of amounts of cash to outbid them.
A few of the “Storage Wars” stars commented on Balelo’s untimely death on Twitter.
“Mr Balelo may you now be removed from your demons R.I.P I will pray for your soul and loved ones,” wrote Darrell Sheets (aka “The Gambler”).
“Our hearts & prayers go out to Mark’s small children & family as well as his devoted fiancé Elizabeth RIP Mark Balelo #STORAGEWARS @AETV,” said the show’s auctioneer Dan Dotson.
[iframe http://xfinitytv.comcast.net/watch/CelebTV/7964745431482661112/18157123846/Storage-Wars-Star-Mark-Balelo-Commits-Suicide/embed 580 476]