A Malaysian man known as the “snake whisperer” died Friday after being bit by a cobra a few days earlier.
Abu Zarin Hussin, who worked for the Temerloh fire station, was bitten by the snake on Monday and was rushed to hospital, The Star Online reports.
Firemen in Malaysia are often called upon to deal with snakes that have invaded people’s homes as there are 26 venomous terrestrial snakes with life-threatening bites in the country.
In addition to his role as a firefighter, Hussin would also conduct training classes for fellow firefighters, teaching them how to identify poisonous snakes and how to capture them without killing them.
Hussin kept several snakes around his home and posted pictures on his Facebook page featuring his interactions with cobras.
These pictures helped propel him to celebrity when British tabloids mistakenly identified him as a Thai man who married a snake who he believed to be the reincarnation of his soulmate.
“They used my photos and started making up stories, saying that I married a snake,” he told The Star Online at the time, adding that he was disappointed by the errors.
“The snakes are with me so that I can observe their behaviour,” he explained.
Hussin’s ability to interact with snakes earned him a spot on Asia’s Got Talent, where he advanced to the quarter-finals.
Hussin had been bit by venomous snakes at least eight times and was in a coma for two days in 2015.