(NEW YORK POST) – A cobra got the better of Malaysia’s famous “snake whisperer,” who died Friday from a bite from the deadly serpent, according to reports.
Abu Zarin Hussin headed the King Cobra Squad of the fire department, where he trained other smoke eaters to identify poisonous snakes and to capture them without killing them, Free Malaysia Today reported.
Firefighters in Malaysia are often called by people who discover unwelcome reptiles in their homes or in public places.
But on Tuesday, Hussin’s luck ran out when he was bitten by a poisonous king cobra during a snake-catching operation in Bentong.
Hussin, 33, who had been a firefighter for 10 years, rose to fame when he participated in the TV competition show “Asia’s Got Talent,” where his snake-handling act included kissing a serpent.
Friends described the snake-catcher’s patience and determination during dangerous missions.
“It will sometimes take hours, but Abu Zarin remained patient,” former volunteer fireman Mohd Ikhwan Hafizi Ali told the New Straits Times. “There were times when we stepped on the snakes’ nest when trying to catch the reptile at plantations and at times we were almost bitten by the highly poisonous cobras.”
Hussin was also widely known for being misidentified by British tabloids in 2016 as a Thai man who allegedly married his pet snake, believing it to be his “reincarnated girlfriend” because of its “striking resemblance” to her.
The stories used pictures from his social media accounts that showed him playing with the scaly creatures.
Hussin, who had four pet snakes, told the BBC he was “very disappointed” by the reports.
The snake charmer had been bitten by a viper before, the Straits Times reported.
In 2015, he stayed in a coma for two days after receiving a cobra bite.