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Master of Scaremonies
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Malaysia's "Snake King" dies after cobra bite
Fri Dec 1, 11:13 PM ET

Malaysia's "Snake King" Ali Khan Samsuddin, who broke records by living with thousands of scorpions and hundreds of snakes, has died after a cobra bit him.

Ali Khan, 48, who wrangled with snakes for over 25 years, was bitten on his left hand by the six metre-long (20 foot) King Cobra during a snake show in the capital on Tuesday, and died on Friday.

"He had been bitten by snakes many times before, including three times by King Cobras ... so we didn't think anything would happen," his son, Amjad Khan, 21, was quoted as saying in the Star daily.

The snake charmer had been given outpatient treatment at a Kuala Lumpur hospital and had told his family not to worry before taking a turn for the worse, said Amjad Khan.

Ali Khan won fame after making it into the 1998 Guinness Book of World Records for living in a glass enclosure with 6,000 scorpions for 21 days. He also broke a Malaysian record seven years ago for living with 400 cobras for 40 days, the state Bernama news agency said.

Amjad Khan, also a snake handler who was trained by his father to play with snakes from the age of three, said he planned to continue in Ali Khan's footsteps. "This is a trade that has been passed down for five generations," he was quoted as saying in the Star. "It's our way of life and we can't imagine doing anything else."

Ali Kahn, who also performed in Thailand and Singapore, left behind a widow and five children.
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