Edward Archbold collapsed at a pet shop after participating and reportedly winning in an unusual competition in Deerfield Beach, Florida.
The contest consisted in consuming live insects and worms, the Sun reported. The prize was a $500 python, that Mr. Archbold had already made arrangements to sell.
The pet shop owner at Ben Siegel Reptiles stated Archbold was a regular costumer, and none of the contestants noticed symptoms of what was about to happen.
“We feel terribly awful. He looked like he just wanted to show off and was very nice,” he stated.
The organizer stated that he hadn't broken any law or regulation, and that the insects were safe for consumption.
"[They] are safely and domestically raised in a controlled environment as food for reptiles," Mr. Siegel stated to police officers investigating the case.
The incident occurred on Friday, Oct. 5, 2012, and was caught on camera by one of the contestants that was documenting the strange event.
Pathologists are looking into the cause of the man's death, after finding out that other contestants displayed no health issue of any sort.
Professor of entomology Michael Adams, of the University of California, expressed the same view on the lack of health risks related to eating the bugs and vermin.
"Unless the roaches were contaminated with some bacteria or other pathogens, I don't think that cockroaches would be unsafe to eat," he said. In his opinion, the man was allergic to either a substance that the roaches had consumed or that was on the floor in the area where they had been kept.
"Some people do have allergies to roaches, […] but there are no toxins in roaches or related insects," professor Adams explained.
Although providing the venue for Mr. Archbold's suspicious death, the owner of the pet shop is not liable for the actions of the participants in the contest.
They all signed waivers "accepting responsibility for their participation in this unique and unorthodox contest," Mr. Siegel's attorney stated.