FILE: Preacher Jamie Coots, star of National Geographic’s “Snake Salvation,” is shown in this undated publicity photo.NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC
Jamie Coots, who starred on “Snake Salvation” — a National Geographic reality show about Pentecostal preachers who handle snakes as part of their services — died Saturday after being bitten by one of the snakes, Kentucky’s WBIRreports.
Coots was handling a rattlesnake at his Full Gospel Tabernacle in Jesus Name Church in Middlesboro when he was bitten on the hand Saturday night, another preacher, Cody Winn, told WBIR.
Police said an ambulance arrived at the church Saturday evening but emergency workers were told Coots had gone home. Authorities said Coots initially refused medical treatment and when emergency workers return later that night, the pastor was dead from a venomous snake bite.
The pastor’s son, Cody Coots, told the television station his dad had been bit eight times before, but never had had such a severe reaction.
A spokesman for National Geographic told Fox News that the network had no plans to film another season, but planned to air a special about Coots.
“In following Pastor Coots … we were constantly struck by his devout religious convictions despite the health and legal peril he often faced. Those risks were always worth it to him and his congregants as a means to demonstrate their unwavering faith,” the network said in a statement.
“We were honored to be allowed such unique access to Pastor Jamie and his congregation during the course of our show, and give context to his method of worship.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.