Broward County Sheriff's Office deputies say Edward Archbold, 32, ate dozens of cockroaches at Ben Siegel Reptiles in Deerfield Beach.
See below to watch video of Archbold participating in the roach-eating contest
Pharaoh Gayles was one of the estimated 20-30 people who took part in the contest on Friday night.
"Some of the snakes were pretty expensive. I thought if I could eat the bugs to get one, it'd be a good idea," said Gayles.
Archbold was a few seats down during the contest.
"We all just stood behind the tanks, they said go, and we all just started eating," said Gayles. "He did a really good job."
Police say at around 11:30 p.m. Friday, they got a call from the store owner because Archbold collapsed.
He ate dozens of cockroaches in his effort to win an $850 snake.
"After he was done he went to go throw up in the bathroom and that was it," said Gayles.
Archbold died at the hospital.
People like Angela Waldman, a customer at the shop on Monday, can't understand.
"I thought oh wow, who would do something like that? People like to do these crazy things all the time, like Fear Factor, " said Waldman.
"I don't see anything wrong with bug-eating. It just happened to be a freak accident," said Gayles.
Ben Siegel reptiles released the following statement:
"(There were) approximately 20-30 (participants) who were all fine... All... were entirely aware of what they were doing and signed waivers accepting responsibility for participation in this unique and unorthodox contest. The consumption of insects is widely accepted throughout the world, and the insects were... safely and domestically raised in a controlled environment."
Siegel told the Associated Press that he feels "terribly awful," and 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."
The medical examiner has not ruled a cause of death yet.
"Unless the roaches were contaminated with some bacteria or other pathogens, I don't think that cockroaches would be unsafe to eat," Michael Adams, professor of entomology at the University of California at Riverside, told the Associated Press. Adams added that he has never heard of someone dying after consuming roaches. "Some people do have allergies to roaches," he said, "but there are no toxins in roaches or related insects."
The store owner has hired a lawyer. Whether the store will face charges, is unknown at this time.