RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Rio de Janeiro police investigating the death of Jorge Selaron, a Chilean artist who created the Brazilian city's renowned tiled staircase, believe he may have killed himself.

Selaron's body was found lying Thursday on the very steps he covered in brilliantly colored tiles as a tribute to Brazil. The stairs were declared city patrimony in 2005.

Homicide police chief Renata Araujo said Friday in a news conference that Selaron told friends he was deeply depressed ever since a former collaborator began threatening him. Late last year, he lodged police complaints against the man.

Araujo said the artist's body was badly burned. Beside him was a can of paint thinner and an autopsy showed the liquid was poured on his head.

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