Indonesian pop star Irma Bule died on Sunday shortly after she was bitten by a king cobra during a live performance.
The 29-year-old performer continued singing for 45 minutes after the venom was introduced to her bloodstream, reports Mashable, but later died in hospital after suffering seizures and vomiting.
The singer was no stranger to handling dangerous snakes during performances, but she allegedly stepped on the cobra’s tail by accident causing it to strike.
Bule has faced some heavy criticism online since reports of her death spread globally, with many questioning why the snake was present at all.
— Bob (@thebobnotes) April 6, 2016
Time Magazine has since reported that her employment of snakes was likely not just a gimmick, but a calculated risk to earn as much as possible for her family.
Irma was a singer on the Dangdut music scene which gave her rural fame, but did not earn her much money.
According to Time, she could earn $20 for a performance, but the inclusion of snakes would bump her pay up to $25.
Her mother, Encum, who also knew Irma as ‘Eneng’, has spoken about the fact her daughter would usually sing with non-venomous species, and snakes that were muzzled by tape.
She told Detik:
Eneng perhaps didn’t know it was a poisonous snake. She was just told to perform with the snake and its mouth wasn’t shut with a duct tape.
It is a tragic story of a young woman taking a huge risk for very little reward.