This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

NIXA, Mo. (KYTV) – A Missouri man died in his sleep just hours after he was bitten by a snake.

While snake bites are relatively rare, officials say 37-year-old Gilbert DeLeon died after being bitten by a venomous snake in the James River.

DeLeon was actually struck twice, but refused to go to the hospital because he couldn’t afford the bill.

Later that night, his girlfriend started to notice symptoms.

“During the night, she thought he was having some labored breathing, but once again, could not get him to go to the doctor or seek medical attention,” said Brad Cole, the Christian County coroner.

That night, DeLeon died in his sleep.

“Whether it’s a snake or any sort of wild animal you may run across, it’s best just to leave them alone. They’re out there in their habitat, in their environment and just give them their distance and everything should be fine,” said Warran Rose, with the Missouri Department of Conservation.

If you are bitten by a snake, experts say you should immediately go to the hospital.

Experts aren’t sure what kind of snake bit DeLeon, but say it may have been a Cottonmouth.

See a mistake? Report a typo here.