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Man Dies After Live Roach-Eating Contest

The winner of a roach-eating contest died shortly after downing dozens of the live bugs as well as worms, authorities said Monday.

About 30 contestants went to the Ben Siegel Reptile Store with the hopes of winning the grand prize – a python.

Edward Archbold, 32, of West Palm Beach became ill after the contest ended and collapsed in front of the store, according to a Broward Sheriff’s Office statement released Monday. He was taken to the hospital where he was pronounced dead. Authorities were waiting for results of an autopsy to determine a cause of death.

Eyewitnesses say Archbold vomited outside the store, and some of the bugs came up, still alive.

“Unless the roaches were contaminated with some bacteria or other pathogens, I don’t think that cockroaches would be unsafe to eat,” said Michael Adams, professor of entomology at the University of California at Riverside, who added that he has never heard of someone dying after consuming roaches.

None of the other contestants became ill, the sheriff’s office said.

“We feel terribly awful,” said store owner Ben Siegel, who added that Archbold did not appear to be sick before the contest. “He looked like he just wanted to show off and was very nice,” Siegel said, adding that Archbold was “the life of the party.”

A statement from Siegel’s attorney said all the participants signed waivers “accepting responsibility for their participation in this unique and unorthodox contest.”

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