In a tragic development that remains steeped in mystery, Robert Bruce, known for his appearances in AMC reality series Comic Book Men, was discovered dead last week at a New Jersey storage facility to which he had known ties, as Fox News reports.
Family members indicated their belief that Bruce, 62, had been living in a unit at the City Center Plaza Professional Records Storage Facility in Red Bank, which also reportedly served as his office, according to the New York Post.
Law enforcement officers initiated a search for Bruce after relatives reported not hearing from the television personality in several days, and while foul play is reportedly not suspected in the death, an investigation remains ongoing.
Bruce is best known for his role on the aforementioned reality show, which aired from 2012-18 and was set in a New Jersey comic book shop owned by filmmaker Kevin Smith.
Though he made appearances in 34 episodes of the program and garnered consulting credits on 82 installments, Bruce had already established himself as a noteworthy expert in the world of collectibles, as Fox News further noted.
Friends of Bruce were understandably shocked and saddened by the news of his death, with longtime friend and collectibles aficionado Ben Leach telling the Post over the weekend, “I think for people who knew him through Comic Book Men, where he would appraise toys and other various collectibles, that really did not scratch the surface of the knowledge that he had.”
According to Leach, Bruce’s repertoire was varied and impressive, considering that “he knew genuine quality antiques, he knew early 20th century, pin-back buttons for political candidates, he was an expert on those” and that he was “one of the early people to bring awareness of Japanese toys to the East Coast.”
The last Instagram post from Bruce appeared on Dec. 22 and was made from a New Jersey flea market, with Leach poignantly recalling, “He was a fixture of a lot of flea markets.”
Bruce will surely be missed by friends, fans, and family members alike, and while there has been no indication that his death was the result of suspicious activity, Red Bank police are urging anyone who may have information on the situation to get in touch with the department.