Beth Chapman, one half of world-famous bounty hunting duo, dies in Honolulu

Updated: Jun. 27, 2019 at 8:32 AM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Beth Chapman, who rose to international fame as an admittedly brash but lovable bounty-hunting reality television star, died Wednesday in Honolulu after a battle with lung cancer. She was 51.

Her husband, Duane “Dog” Chapman, delivered the news on Twitter at 5:54 a.m.

“We all love you, Beth. See you on the other side,” he wrote.

Later in the day, an emotional Chapman spoke to reporters, saying that his wife never stopped worrying about the welfare of others ― even on her last days on Earth.

“I hope to God there’s a God. I hope I’m not just talking to myself. and if there is I’m going to see my Beth again,” Chapman said, holding back tears.

Family members speak following death of Beth Chapman

#LIVE: 'Dog' Chapman and members of the Chapman family speak to reporters about the passing of Beth Chapman. STORY: #HINews #HNN

Posted by Hawaii News Now on Wednesday, June 26, 2019

He added that condolences for the family had poured in from all over the world. “We’ve got millions from all over the world, people wishing love and respect,” he said.

A family spokeswoman confirmed Chapman died at The Queen’s Medical Center, and said funeral arrangements were pending for Honolulu and Colorado.

Chapman was admitted to the ICU at Queen’s on Saturday, and placed in a medically-induced coma.

Earlier this week, Duane Chapman posted a photo of one of his wife’s hands in the hospital bed, sporting perfectly manicured fingernails. “You all know how she is about her nails!” he wrote.

The photo was iconic of how Beth Chapman handled her two-year battle with cancer. In the face of uncertainty, she looked to support from her family and fans ― and never changed her unique style.

“I think that faith and fear void each other out, so you have to pick one,” Chapman said, in a January interview. “You can’t have faith and be scared.”

Chapman was first diagnosed with stage III throat cancer in September 2017. Although a 13-hour operation removing a tumor from her neck was successful, her cancer returned in November 2018 as stage IV lung cancer. This was followed by another emergency surgery.

Then in April, she was rushed to a hospital with respiratory issues. Doctors discovered that she had almost four liters of fluid from her lungs.

Chapman called her cancer fight the “ultimate test of faith” when she spoke during a service at a Florida church in May. “God doesn’t do things for no apparent reason,” she said. “There are reasons, and it’s up to you to figure out what your lesson is in the circumstance that you’re going through.”

Over the course of her life, the Colorado native wore many different hats. After graduating high school, she held several jobs, including an ice skater, a clerk, a nightclub singer, a gymnast and a waitress.

To those who knew her through the television, Chapman was the youngest licensed bail bondsman in Colorado at the age of 22 (until her step-daughter, Lyssa Chapman, broke the record at age 19).

She was also Mrs. Dog ― wife of celebrity bounty hunter Duane “Dog” Chapman ― in the reality series named after her husband.

Together, the couple ran a bail bonds business, went bounty hunting and counseled detainees. Chapman was best known for her emotional range: One moment she’d be shooting a suspect with pepper spray. The next minute she’d be offering her shoulder to cry on.

To her family, Chapman was known as a dedicated wife and mother. In addition to her husband, she is survived by 12 children, 15 grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

“The greatest gift I ever got was my children [and] my bonus children,” Chapman said at that Florida service. “I hate the word step- stepmother. I don’t like to be set separate from them. I am a bonus parent, and I say that proudly.”

A look at her social media feeds show how much emphasis she placed on family. One of her first thoughts when she first got sick was how her kids were going to make it through this, she said.

Chapman said she raised her kids to know that no matter that they did in life, they could always come back to their “base,” a foundation built on faith and family.

It was the same faith that fueled her fight against cancer for the last two years.

“I am not defeated by my weakness and endure in this treatment,” Chapman said. “When I am surrounded with troubles on every side, and when I face persecution, because of my love for Christ, I am made yet stronger now.”

During her cancer treatment, Chapman tried to stay active. When she wasn’t hunting fugitives with her husband, she enjoyed hiking. It was about the quality of life, rather than the quantity, she said.

“You have to stay busy or else the whole cancer thing does a horrible mind game on you,” she told Hawaii News Now in January. “You have to be vigilant. You have to fight it off as hard it’s attacking you.”

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