Jamie Coots, a Kentucky pastor who starred on National Geographic Channel's Snake Salvation — a reality show about Pentecostal preachers who handle serpents as part of their services — died Saturday after being bitten by one of the snakes, Kentucky's WBIR reports.
Coots was found dead in his home around 10 p.m. Saturday, after being bitten in his church earlier in the day, police told the local TV station. He had left the church before emergency workers arrived and refused medical attention for the wound.
Nearly a year ago, Coots pled guilty to violating exotic animals laws and was ordered to give up his vipers.
National Geographic released a statement about Coots' death on Sunday. "National Geographic joins his family, friends and community in mourning the loss of Pastor Jamie Coots," the statement reads. "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."
Watch a National Geographic video about Coots below: