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Kentucky snake handler Coots dies from snake bite

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By Beth Braden

MIDDLESBORO, KY.—Jamie Coots, Snake Salvation co-star and pastor of Full Gospel Tabernacle in Jesus Name church, has died after he was bitten by a poisonous snake. It was unclear if he was bitten during a religious service.

Coots, along with local serpent handling pastor, Andrew Hamblin, were the stars of a 16-episode series on National Geographic Channel about snake handling as part of their faith.

Hamblin declined to comment on the matter Sunday, but asked for prayers. 

"Really needing everyones prayers tonight. I was there for the last service with him (Coots). He was like a dad to me. Everyone just keep us all in your prayers. And there will be church tomorrow at 1:00 at tabernacle church of God. Remember us when you pray," he said in a Facebook post in the early morning hours of Feb. 16.

A Facebook page, "In Memory of Bro. Jamie Coots and support for his family," had already amassed more than 400 fans just after noon on Sunday.

Funeral arrangements for Coots were not immediately available.

This story will be updated as more information is released.