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National Geographic Channel issues statement following death of Jamie Coots

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Following the death of Jamie Coots, star of National Geographic Channel’s Snake Salvation, the network announced that they will air a tribute special dedicated to the snake handler.

Coots, an Appalachian pastor who used snakes as part of his religious sermon, died Saturday shortly after sustaining a rattlesnake bite while preaching at a Kentucky church. He reportedly died just a few hours later.

On Monday, Brian Gillie of received an email from National Geographic in which they issued a formal statement regarding Coots death:

National Geographic joins his family, friends and community in mourning the loss of Pastor Jamie Coots. In following Pastor Coots for our series Snake Salvation, 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. 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. Our thoughts are with his family at this difficult time.

Coots was a third generation snake handler who according to his son had previously been bitten 9 other times.

The Pentecostal evangelist refused treatment following his Saturday snakebite because he “believes in a bible passage that suggests a poisonous snakebite will not harm them as long as they are anointed by God’s power.”

According to sources, the pastor took up a bus driving job because he had already spent the money earned from the television series.

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