The body of Chilean artist Jorge Selarón was found in Brazil near one of his most recognizable works of art, the Escadaria Selarón (Selarón’s Steps).
On Thursday, Selarón’s body was discovered near the famous steps. The 65-year-old was found with burn marks on various parts of his body.
Selarón was moved to the Instituto Médico-Legal (IML) and Rio’s homicide department says it is still unclear whether the artist’s death was murder, suicide, or something else.
Four people have been taken in for questioning, including a man Selarón told police was showing threatening behavior.
The man, Paulo Sérgio Rabello, once collaborated with Selarón, but their relationship had since become strained. Throughout a number of altercations, Selarón had told police Rabello had knocked over his easel, thrown his paintings to the ground, and even threatened to stab him on two occasions.
Neighbors say that after the threats began Selarón was not the same. He seemed saddened, a great departure from his usual jovial self.
Though Selarón may have passed, his work remains.
Selarón was mostly a painter until 1990 when he decided to make over the steps near his home in Rio de Janeiro.
The Chilean-born artist turned the 215 steps from Joaquim Silva St. and Pinto Martins St between the neighborhoods of Lapa and Santa Teresa into a “tribute to the Brazilian people.”
The steps were covered in more than 2,000 tiles from more than 60 countries, using the colors of the Brazilian flag: green, blue, and yellow.
Selarón’s was 66.