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Roach-Eating Contest Turns Fatal for Contestant

By Andrew Lu | Last updated on

A winner of a live roach eating contest collapsed to his death shortly after winning the South Florida event.

Edward Archbold was the winner/victim of the contest at the Ben Siegel Reptile Store. The 32-year-old man downed dozens of live roaches and other bugs to win the contest. He beat out 30 other contestants and took home the grand prize -- a python.

Investigators are still looking into the cause of death and it's unsure if eating the live insects caused the man to die. The store owner who held the contest said that Archbold appeared healthy before the start of the contest and was just having fun and showing off, reports The Associated Press.

While there is no official connection yet between eating the live insects and Archbold's death, the timing of his death is very suspicious. While still at the event, Archbold collapsed in front of the store, reports the AP. He was taken to a hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Given that billions of people around the world eat live insects like the one that Archbold ate, it's not clear how the young man died based on eating the insects alone. A professor of entomology even chimed in and said that while eating roaches may be considered gross, there is nothing particularly harmful about the insects, reports the AP. For what it is worth, none of the other contestants became ill.

For promoting the contest, the owner of the reptile store is the obvious target of a wrongful death lawsuit. The argument would be that he should have been aware of the dangers of having a live insect eating contest.

But whether the store bears any responsibility will likely turn on Archbold's autopsy. The man could have died from a variety of reasons completely unrelated to eating insects. Additionally, all the contestants signed a waiver "accepting responsibility for their participation in this unique and unorthodox contest," says the store owner's lawyer.

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