Mark Balelo was best known for his bidding talents on A&E’s Storage Wars before he died in 2013. Fans are now remembering the star almost ten years on and wondering what actually happened to the reality TV personality.

He first appeared on the show in its second season and made consecutive appearances in episodes “Enemy of The Enemy”, “Fire in The Hole” and “San Burrito”. Mark was nicknamed “Rico Suave” by Brandi thanks to his flashy wardrobe.

Known for bringing more than $50,000 to each auction, one of Mark’s most memorable scenes was when he found a Nintendo Entertainment System with a part number for the first-edition Nintendo released in the US. 

Fans are now paying tribute to the Storage Wars bidder as the ten-year anniversary of his passing approaches.

Who was Mark Balelo?

Mark Balelo, from Simi Valley, California, was a bidder on A&E’s Storage Wars until 2013. He ran three companies, including as president and chief executive of Balelo Inc, which handled asset acquisitions, liquidations and close-outs.

He also ran gaming store The Game Exchange and auction house Balelo Auctions. Able to speak five languages fluently, Mark was involved in automotive sales for 17 years and was one of the nation’s top performers in automotive sales for Mercedes-Benz. In his spare time, the man of many hobbies drove a race car!

Man I miss you cuz! We had some fun times together that’s for sure. The stories we tell still seen unbelievable!

Posted by Chris Nigro on Monday, February 1, 2021

Storage Wars debut

Mark became a regular cast member in season 2, having bought 150 storage units a week on behalf of his company Balelo Inc. He had accumulated a net worth of more than $500,000 as of 2013.

Although finding a first-edition Nintendo was one of his key moments, Mark was left disappointed when he found out it was only worth $10. However, being on Storage Wars was a dream in itself as Mark had dreamed of being a treasure hunter when he was a child.

He called himself the ‘Storage Warrior’ and became renowned on the show for his determination not to back down until he had proposed his maximum bid.

Also appearing on “Buy Low, Sell High” of Storage Wars Unlocked and in the third season’s episode “More Like, Wrong Beach”, Mark’s man purse became known as a ‘murse’, which added a comedy element to the series.

What happened to Mark?

Mark was found dead in his car in Simi Valley, California, on February 11th 2013. As reported by Cinemaholic, an autopsy confirmed he died by suicide at the age of 40.

The cause of death was asphyxiation due to carbon monoxide poisoning. His suicide came after he was arrested for possession of methamphetamine and allegedly being under the influence of a controlled substance two days previously.

One of his employees found Balelo’s body on the premises of his auction house in Simi Valley. He found his boss unresponsive in a car that was left with its engine running.

Almost ten years on, Mark’s fans and loved ones are paying tribute to him. On February 1st 2022, many celebrated his birthday.

One family member wrote: “Happy heavenly birthday cousin, lots of light to your soul. Rest in peace.”

His father wrote: “Wherever you are, my son, a big kiss. I miss you so much.”



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