Nottinghamshire snake sanctuary owner Luke Yeomans has died after being bitten by one of his own reptiles.
The 47-year-old Yeomans was due to open the King Cobra Sanctuary, in Eastwood, this weekend.
Police were called to Yeomans' property where they discovered he had suffered a suspected heart attack. He was pronounced dead at the scene and the snake was contained
An investigation into the circumstances surrounding the death was under way.
Earlier this year Yeomans told the BBC he had started the sanctuary in 2008, in reaction to the depletion of the snake's natural habitat in the forests of south-east Asia and India.
He said snakes had been an obsession and that he caught his first adder at the age of seven. In his teens he shared his bedroom with a collection of gaboon vipers and Indian cobras.
At 16 he opened his first pet shop, specialising in snakes and other reptiles, and two years later started to breed his own.
Yeomans compared his passion for snakes with other people's obsessions with fast cars.
"People do say that I am mad but I say it's better than people saying you're bad. I think everything I am doing is good," he said.