Snake Salvation star killed by a snake

The star of National Geographic’s reality series Snake Salvation, Jamie Coots, was killed Saturday night after being bitten by a snake and refusing medical treatment.

Cody Winn, another preacher, told WBIR that fellow Snake Salvation star Andrew Hamblin “said he looked at him and said ‘sweet Jesus’ and it was over. He didn’t die right then, but he just went out and never woke back up.”

Coots’ 21-year-old son, Cody, who plans to continue the practice of snake-handling at the church, said his dad was previously bitten eight times, and expected this would be just like the previous times: “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.”

Here’s part of NatGeo’s description of Snake Salvation, which aired last fall and followed Coots and Hamblin:

“In the hills of Appalachia, Pentecostal pastors Jamie Coots and Andrew Hamblin struggle to keep an over-100-year-old tradition alive: the practice of handling deadly snakes in church. Jamie and Andrew believe in a bible passage that suggests a poisonous snakebite will not harm them as long as they are anointed by God’s power. If they don’t practice the ritual of snake handling, they believe they are destined for hell.”

In this graphic video from the series, Coots describes his faith and shows the finger that fell off after it was bitten by a snake. You’ve been warned:

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about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.