Coots' son Cody told TMZ that "the family still believes in God's protective power against snake venom -- despite his father's death." Cody will take over as pastor at the Full Gospel Tabernacle in Jesus Name church in Middlesboro, Ky., in the wake of his dad's passing.
He described the deadly snakebite as "God's way," explaining to TMZ that "It was God saying, 'this is how you wanted it, and it's your time to go...' If he didn't plan [to die this way] he would have stayed alive." He said that his father felt it was "much better to die from a snakebite than a stroke or car accident."
The Associated Press reported that Coots was holding a rattler when it bit him on the hand. He had been bitten eight times before, according to Cody, but had never before suffered such a severe reaction.
The practice of serpent handling is based on a Biblical passage in the book of Mark that mentions believers taking up serpents. "We literally believe they want us to take up snakes," Coots said to The Associated Press in February 2013. "We've been serpent handling for the past 20 or 21 years."