Artist Found on Stairs, Jorge Selaron, Dead in Mysterious Circumstances Next to Artwork (PHOTO)

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(Photo: Reuters/Clarissa Cavalheiro)Artist Jorge Selaron sketches while sitting on the staircase he created, the Escadaria Selaron, located between Lapa and Santa Teresa neighborhoods in Rio de Janeiro, July 27, 2010. Selaron began his project in 1990 with some 2,000 tiles collected from over 60 countries. The Chilean-born artist calls the project a tribute to the Brazilian people.

An artist famous for being found on a set of stairs in Rio de Janiero over the past 20 years working on a piece of art, has been found dead next to the location of his most famous and final artwork on Thursday.

Jorge Selarón was found near a long public stairway in Rio on Jan. 10, which was the location he had spend more than 20 years of his life working on a famed mosaic along the stairway.

At the moment the death remains unexplained.

The artist is said to have decided to renovate the stairs on which he was found dead on, back in 1990. He dedicated himself to the task, spending the next two decades - sometimes day and night - tiling the Escadaria Selaron.

He would often be seen speaking to locals and tourists as he worked, and became famous in the area for always being seen working on the art piece.

According to ABC News, police have not yet determined a cause of death, but have said that there are some suspicious aspects to the death.

Reports have said that Rio police found his body on Thursday in one of the colonials that flank the staircase, which ascends into the St. Teresa Convent above.

Selarón was a popular and well known figure in the area, and locals and tourists have been seen leaving flowers and lighting candles in memory of him as they paid their respects.

It is believed that local authorities are not discounting murder in the case, although they have not given many specific details about the case at this point.

A friend of Selarón's, Jocimar Batista de Jesus, a capoeira master, has said, "We can speak of Lapa before and after Selaron. He changed the face of Rio. His death is something brutish, that makes no sense," according to The Inquisitr.

He added, "He had no resources, no support from the city … The neighbors helped as they could. I brought him tiles from my trips, from Spain, Holland, as I traveled. As it grew, people began to contribute, to send him tiles, to bring them to Rio when they came to visit."