Jamie Coots, a snake-handling pastor who is popular for his appearance in National Geographic's canceled reality show "Snake Salvation", passed away on Saturday, February 15 of snake bite. According to Middlesboro Police Chief Jeff Sharpe, Coots was found dead in his home at around 10 P.M. after being bitten by a snake in his church, Full Gospel Tabernacle in Jesus Name.
"Jamie went across the floor. He had one of the rattlers in his hand, he came over and he was standing beside me. It was plain view, it just turned its head and bit him in the back of the hand ... within a second," another preacher, Cody Winn, told WBIR-TV. Coots, who believed that God protected believers from snake bites, went home and said he did not want to receive medical treatment.
Coots' son Cody revealed that his father had been bitten eight times, but he never had such severe reaction before. "We're going to go home, he's going to lay on the couch, he's going to hurt, he's going to pray for a while and he's going to get better. That's what happened every other time, except this time was just so quick and it was crazy, it was really crazy," he explained.
Following the pastor's death, a spokesperson for National Geographic Channels, Stephanie Montgomery, released a statement on Sunday. "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," the statement read, as quoted by CNN.
"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," the statement continued.