As most of you have probably heard by now, Mark Balelo of Storage Wars passed away over the weekend and was found on Monday. Sure he liked to annoyingly up bid everybody and once made the unfortunate mistake of valuing a worthless Nintendo as being worth over $13,000. But the man did have a penchant for snazzy fashion ensembles that I for one, will greatly miss. We reported the news to you yesterday afternoon via Facebook and other social media, following reports on major media outlets, TMZ, E! and The Huffington Post. Mr. Balelo has left a Mark shaped hole in our hearts.
Mark began appearing on Storage Wars during season 2 and continued to appear on the show sporadically over the course of the following season. He was not in the opening credits, or considered a regular cast member. Along with Nabila Hannis and Jeff Jared, he made semi regular appearances that helped to spice up the show and give us new characters to root for and against. Say what you will about the guy, he knew how to put on a show and give the viewers a villain that they loved to hate almost as much as Dave Hester, The Mogul himself. Due to his bold fashion choices on camera, he came to have the nickname Rico Sauvé. He was also known for bringing obscene amounts of money with him to each auction, sometimes in his man purse, or “murse” and sometimes in a fanny pack. The man was not shy about stealing lockers, kicking butt, and taking names.
I’ve done some searching around on Mark since the news broke, and from what I can tell, he didn’t normally run around wearing flamboyant, aggressively loud clothing that may or may not have been flame retardant. He actually looked pretty normal in jeans and t-shirts and button ups that weren’t so reflective that you could see them from outer space. There were pictures of him with his kids and pictures of him with his fiancé, and with his cars. Once I started to mentally separate the actual guy from the “Rico Sauvé” character that he portrayed himself as on the show (surely with the intent of getting more screen time) I felt a pang of affection and a tugging of the heartstrings in my normally Grinchy sized heart. No matter what the circumstances, his loved ones are missing him today. His kids are missing a father and his fiancé is missing her husband to be.
After doing more searching, I was able to find Mark’s self-written bio on A&E. It’s a bit lengthy, but I took the time to read it and he had actually lived a pretty interesting life. Having been born in Portugal, as a child he lived for many years in Brazil, and eventually made his way to the states as a young guy looking for a college education. He majored in Business Administration and International Business. He spent several years selling cars and moving around the country, and during the economic downturn of 2008, he began selling items on Ebay from his home. This enterprise eventually became Balelo, Inc. and all its divisions and branches, including a store called The Game Exchange. He eventually began to buy storage lockers, and opened his own auction company, and the rest, as they say, is history…