As has been widely reported, the snake-handling Pentecostal pastor and reality TV star from Kentucky Jamie Coots died on Saturday after being bitten by a poisonous snake. Coots and fellow pastor Andrew Hamblin were both featured on NatGeo’s “Snake Salvation,” which followed their lives and aimed to educate people about their religion. The DC-based cable channel issued the following statement today on Coots’ death:
On the passing of Pastor Jamie Coots:
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 died at home after being bitten by a snake at his church. Paramedics were on the scene to assist him there, but his family refused their help. They believe, based on their reading of the Book of Mark, that God protects the faithful from the venom of snakes. Hamblin was also with Coots when he was bitten. No charges will be filed in the case.