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'Snake Salvation' star dies of bite: Jamie Coots dead after refusing treatment

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Jamie Coots, star of reality TV show, "Snake Salvation," died Saturday from a snake bite. The Pentecostal pastor, who believes that God protects devout Christians from venomous snake bites, passed away Saturday in Kentucky after refusing medical treatment for his wound, citing a Feb. 16 CNN report.

The "Snake Salvation" star was pronounced dead at his home after he wouldn't allow doctors to use antivenom (or antivenin) to neutralize the toxins in his system, according to Middleborough police.

Raw Story wrote that EMS responded to a call at Coots' Full Gospel Tabernacle in Jesus Name church where he is senior pastor. The preacher wasn’t there, but first responders were notified that the "Snake Salvation" star suffered a snake bite and went to his residence.

Upon arrival, emergency workers offered medical treatment, but in support of his religious beliefs, Coots refused. Two hours later, the snake handling evangelist was dead.

The National Geographic hosts the controversial reality television show that features Coots handling several forms of poisonous serpents -- diamond back rattlesnakes, copperheads, and water moccasins aka cottonmouths.

Even after losing half of his finger to a snake bite and seeing others die from bites during services," Coots "still believes he must take up serpents and follow the Holiness faith," it reads on the NG website.

The practice of handling snakes for religious purposes is largely part of the Appalachian Mountains culture in the rural south, but is against the law in most states.

Jamie Coots had a history of run-ins with law enforcement over illegally keeping the reptiles. Just last year, he received a probation sentence for violating Tennessee's laws on crossing into its borders with snakes. Moreover, in 2008, Coots was jailed for allegedly having 74 snakes in his home.

The charismatic star of "Snake Salvation" pointed to Bible scripture, namely Mark 16 which says:

And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover."

The Kentucky pastor had plans to have his son, Little Cody, inherit the practice when he retired. It's unknown if his son will honor his father's wishes.

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