A Malaysian firefighter dubbed the “snake whisperer” because of his skill in handling deadly snakes has died after being bitten by a cobra.
Abu Zarin Hussin, who had appeared on TV show Asia’s Got Talent “kissing” a snake, was bitten by a wild spitting cobra after responding to a call to catch the aggressive reptile.
Mr Hussin, who was off-duty at the time he attended the appeal for help in Bentong, central Pahang, died in hospital four days after being poisoned.
Confirming his death, Khiruddin Drahman, director of Kuala Lumpur Fire and Rescue Department, said: “The snake he caught was a wild spitting cobra. A single bite can even kill an elephant. We lost a talented officer. It is a tragic event.”
Mr Hussin, 33, became a viral sensation in 2016 after it was falsely reported he had married a snake believing it was a reincarnation of his girlfriend.
It was this identity mix-up, in which media outlets mistakenly identified him as a Thai man who wed his pet snake – that led to his international fame.
He later appeared on TV, appearing on Asia’s Got Talent with a large cobra in an act which involved him rubbing his nose against the deadly serpent’s head.
Mr Hussin had learnt his snake-handling skills from his father, whom he called a “snake charmer”, and had worked as a firefighter for 10 years, according to Malaysian news outlet The Star.
He led snake-catching classes for firemen – known as the King Cobra Squad – who are often sent to deal with venomous snakes in populated areas of Malaysia.
A lover of snakes, he was said to pride himself in his ability to identify the deadly reptiles, always capturing them without harming them.
He had previously recovered from the jaws of death after being bitten by a viper, and spent two days in a coma in 2015 after being attacked by a cobra.
Mr Hussin leaves behind a wife, and had four pet snakes King, Chip and Cik Din.