Beth Chapman, wife of Dog the Bounty Hunter, dies after battle with cancer

Beth Chapman, shown with Duane Chapman, has battled cancer for years. (Source:Source: KHNL/Gray...
Beth Chapman, shown with Duane Chapman, has battled cancer for years. (Source:Source: KHNL/Gray News/file)(KKTV)
Published: Jun. 26, 2019 at 12:14 PM EDT
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Reality TV star Beth Chapman has died Wednesday after a battle with cancer, her family said.

She was 51 years old.

Even lying in that hospital bed with an IV in her hand, Chapman’s perfectly manicured fingernails showed off their signature bedazzled rhinestones.

And that’s how she handled her two-year battle with cancer. In the face of uncertainty and an uphill fight, she maintained a faithful outlook, not just for herself, but for her husband and children too.

“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 two 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 four lung cancer. This was followed by another successful emergency surgery.

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

Despite these physical challenges, Chapman called this 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,” Chapman said during the service, which was live-streamed online. “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 the detainees. They even appeared on the popular television show, Hawaii Five-0, as themselves.

But to her family, she was known as a dedicated wife and mother.

Chapman had four biological children and eight “bonus” children, as she calls them, from her husband’s previous marriages.

“The greatest gift I ever got was my children [and] my bonus children,” Chapman said in a message she shared at the Florida church service in May. “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 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 at the May church service. “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 battle, Chapman tried to stay active. She enjoyed hiking at locations such as the Makapu’u Lighthouse and Koko Crater trails when she wasn’t hunting fugitives with her husband. 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 said during a January interview. “You have to be vigilant, and you have to fight it off as hard it’s attacking you.”

As friends and family remember the life of Chapman, others can follow her journey in the two-hour documentary, “Dog and Beth: Fight of Their Lives,” detailing her battle with cancer. Her husband has asked for prayers for the family during this time.

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