Steve Irwin
Overview
Stephen Robert "Steve" Irwin (22 February 1962 – 4 September 2006), nickname
Nickname
A nickname is "a usually familiar or humorous but sometimes pointed or cruel name given to a person or place, as a supposedly appropriate replacement for or addition to the proper name.", or a name similar in origin and pronunciation from the original name....

d "The Crocodile Hunter", was an Australian television personality, wildlife expert, and conservationist. Irwin achieved worldwide fame from the television series The Crocodile Hunter
The Crocodile Hunter
The Crocodile Hunter was a wildlife documentary television series that was hosted by Steve Irwin and his wife Terri. The show became a popular franchise due to its unconventional approach and Irwin's approach to wildlife...

, an internationally broadcast wildlife documentary
Nature documentary
A natural history film or wildlife film is a documentary film about animals, plants, or other non-human living creatures, usually concentrating on film taken in their natural habitat...

 series which he co-hosted with his wife Terri
Terri Irwin
Theresa Penelope "Terri" Irwin, AM is an Australian-based, American-born naturalist, author, the widow of Australian naturalist Steve Irwin and owner of Australia Zoo at Beerwah, Queensland, Australia...

. Together, the couple also owned and operated Australia Zoo
Australia Zoo
Australia Zoo is a zoo located in the Australian state of Queensland on the Sunshine Coast near Beerwah/Glass House Mountains. It is a member of the Zoo and Aquarium Association , and is owned by Terri Irwin, the widow of Steve Irwin, whose wildlife documentary series The Crocodile Hunter made the...

, founded by Irwin's parents in Beerwah
Beerwah, Queensland
Beerwah is a town on the Sunshine Coast hinterland in Queensland, Australia. It is situated north of Glass House Mountains, approximately 80 km north of Brisbane, and just south of Landsborough. The main road through Beerwah is called Steve Irwin Way. It was formerly known as the Glasshouse...

, about 80 kilometres (49.7 mi) north of the Queensland
Queensland
Queensland is a state of Australia, occupying the north-eastern section of the mainland continent. It is bordered by the Northern Territory, South Australia and New South Wales to the west, south-west and south respectively. To the east, Queensland is bordered by the Coral Sea and Pacific Ocean...

 state capital city of Brisbane.
Quotations

I've probably saved thousands of people's lives with my educational message on snake bites, how to get in around venomous anything. Yeah, I'm a thrill seeker, but crikey, education's the most important thing.

Online interview at Scientific American online (sciam.com) (26 March 2001)

I think my path would have always gone back to or delivered me to wildlife. I think wildlife is just like a magnet, and it's something that I can't help.

If something ever happens to me, people are gonna be like 'we knew a croc would get him!'

Biography for Steve Irwin (II) in The Internet Movie Database

Born a wildlife warrior, die a wildlife warrior.

Radio interview on Radio Alice (KLLC 97.3)

I have a deep-seated respect for parrots. As gifted as I am with all other wildlife, parrots have this uncanny desire to kill me. I'm not sure why, but they're like my kryptonite!

I'm very embarrassing to look at. You know why? Here's why I'm embarrassing: 'cause there's a little bit of me in everybody... I'm like the boy that never grew up. I'm very, very passionate about what I do. I mean, I love what I do....and people are like "God, give this guy a valium or something, you know? Can't he have a bad day?"

I've got the Terri factor, mate. I've got this wife that is so incredibly intelligent and strong that I reckon, between us, we'll get through it.

from "Enough Rope With Andrew Denton" on ABC, 2003

Crikey means gee whiz, wow!

Crikey, mate. You're far safer dealing with crocodiles and western diamondback rattlesnakes than the executives and the producers and all those sharks in the big MGM building.

from "Enough Rope With Andrew Denton" on ABC, 2004

I have a message for my fans. Whatever you want to do in this world, it is achievable. The most important thing that I've found, that perhaps you could use, is be passionate and enthusiastic in the direction that you choose in life, and you'll be a winner.

from Crikey! What an Adventure on Animal Planet, 2007

Encyclopedia
Stephen Robert "Steve" Irwin (22 February 1962 – 4 September 2006), nickname
Nickname
A nickname is "a usually familiar or humorous but sometimes pointed or cruel name given to a person or place, as a supposedly appropriate replacement for or addition to the proper name.", or a name similar in origin and pronunciation from the original name....

d "The Crocodile Hunter", was an Australian television personality, wildlife expert, and conservationist. Irwin achieved worldwide fame from the television series The Crocodile Hunter
The Crocodile Hunter
The Crocodile Hunter was a wildlife documentary television series that was hosted by Steve Irwin and his wife Terri. The show became a popular franchise due to its unconventional approach and Irwin's approach to wildlife...

, an internationally broadcast wildlife documentary
Nature documentary
A natural history film or wildlife film is a documentary film about animals, plants, or other non-human living creatures, usually concentrating on film taken in their natural habitat...

 series which he co-hosted with his wife Terri
Terri Irwin
Theresa Penelope "Terri" Irwin, AM is an Australian-based, American-born naturalist, author, the widow of Australian naturalist Steve Irwin and owner of Australia Zoo at Beerwah, Queensland, Australia...

. Together, the couple also owned and operated Australia Zoo
Australia Zoo
Australia Zoo is a zoo located in the Australian state of Queensland on the Sunshine Coast near Beerwah/Glass House Mountains. It is a member of the Zoo and Aquarium Association , and is owned by Terri Irwin, the widow of Steve Irwin, whose wildlife documentary series The Crocodile Hunter made the...

, founded by Irwin's parents in Beerwah
Beerwah, Queensland
Beerwah is a town on the Sunshine Coast hinterland in Queensland, Australia. It is situated north of Glass House Mountains, approximately 80 km north of Brisbane, and just south of Landsborough. The main road through Beerwah is called Steve Irwin Way. It was formerly known as the Glasshouse...

, about 80 kilometres (49.7 mi) north of the Queensland
Queensland
Queensland is a state of Australia, occupying the north-eastern section of the mainland continent. It is bordered by the Northern Territory, South Australia and New South Wales to the west, south-west and south respectively. To the east, Queensland is bordered by the Coral Sea and Pacific Ocean...

 state capital city of Brisbane. Irwin died on 4 September 2006 after being pierced in the chest by a stingray
Stingray
The stingrays are a group of rays, which are cartilaginous fishes related to sharks. They are classified in the suborder Myliobatoidei of the order Myliobatiformes, and consist of eight families: Hexatrygonidae , Plesiobatidae , Urolophidae , Urotrygonidae , Dasyatidae , Potamotrygonidae The...

 barb while filming an underwater documentary film entitled Ocean's Deadliest
Ocean's Deadliest
Ocean's Deadliest is a nature documentary hosted by Philippe Cousteau Jr. and Steve Irwin. It was the final documentary made by Irwin by the time of his death, which occurred during filming.-Documentary:...

. The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society ship MY Steve Irwin was named in his honour.

Early life

Irwin was born on his mother's birthday to Lyn and Bob Irwin
Bob Irwin
Robert "Bob" Irwin is an Australian naturalist, animal conservationist, and a pioneering herpetologist who is also famous for his conservation and husbandry work with apex predators and reptiles...

 in Essendon
Essendon, Victoria
Essendon is a suburb in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 10 km north-west from Melbourne's central business district. Its Local Government Area is the City of Moonee Valley...

, a suburb of Melbourne, Victoria. He moved with his parents as a child to Queensland in 1970, where he attended Landsborough State School and Caloundra State High School. Irwin described his father as a wildlife expert interested in herpetology
Herpetology
Herpetology is the branch of zoology concerned with the study of amphibians and reptiles...

, while his mother Lyn was a wildlife
Wildlife
Wildlife includes all non-domesticated plants, animals and other organisms. Domesticating wild plant and animal species for human benefit has occurred many times all over the planet, and has a major impact on the environment, both positive and negative....

 rehabilitator. After moving to Queensland, Bob and Lyn Irwin started the small Queensland Reptile and Fauna Park, where Steve grew up around crocodile
Crocodile
A crocodile is any species belonging to the family Crocodylidae . The term can also be used more loosely to include all extant members of the order Crocodilia: i.e...

s and other reptile
Reptile
Reptiles are members of a class of air-breathing, ectothermic vertebrates which are characterized by laying shelled eggs , and having skin covered in scales and/or scutes. They are tetrapods, either having four limbs or being descended from four-limbed ancestors...

s.

Irwin became involved with the park in a number of ways, including taking part in daily animal feeding, as well as care and maintenance activities. On his sixth birthday he was given a 12 feet (4 m) scrub python. He began handling crocodiles at the age of nine after his father had educated him on reptiles from an early age. Also at age nine he wrestled his first crocodile, again under his father's supervision. He worked as a volunteer for Queensland's East Coast Crocodile Management program and captured over 100 crocodiles, some of which were relocated, while others were housed at the family park. Irwin took over the management of the park in 1991 and renamed it Australia Zoo in 1992.

Marriage and family

In 1991, Irwin met Terri Raines
Terri Irwin
Theresa Penelope "Terri" Irwin, AM is an Australian-based, American-born naturalist, author, the widow of Australian naturalist Steve Irwin and owner of Australia Zoo at Beerwah, Queensland, Australia...

, an American naturalist from Eugene
Eugene, Oregon
Eugene is the second largest city in the U.S. state of Oregon and the seat of Lane County. It is located at the south end of the Willamette Valley, at the confluence of the McKenzie and Willamette rivers, about east of the Oregon Coast.As of the 2010 U.S...

, Oregon who was visiting wildlife rehabilitation facilities in Australia and had decided to visit the zoo. According to the couple, it was love at first sight. Terri said at the time, "I thought there was no one like this anywhere in the world. He sounded like an environmental Tarzan, a larger-than-life superhero guy." They were engaged four months later and were married in Eugene on 4 June 1992. Together they had two children: a daughter, Bindi Sue Irwin
Bindi Irwin
Bindi Sue Irwin is the daughter of The Crocodile Hunter star Steve Irwin. Bindi is a child celebrity who has tried her hand at acting, singing, songwriting, dancing, and rapping...

 (born 24 July 1998), and a son, Robert Clarence "Bob" (named after Irwin's father) Irwin (born 1 December 2003). Bindi Sue is jointly named after two of Steve Irwin's favourite animals: Bindi, a saltwater crocodile
Saltwater Crocodile
The saltwater crocodile, also known as estuarine or Indo-Pacific crocodile, is the largest of all living reptiles...

, and Sui, a Staffordshire Bull Terrier
Staffordshire Bull Terrier
The Staffordshire Bull Terrier is a medium-sized, short-coated, old-time breed of dog. It is an English dog, where it is the 5th most popular breed, and related to the bull terrier...

 who died on 23 June 2004. Irwin was as enthusiastic about his family as he was about his work. He once described his daughter Bindi as "the reason [he] was put on the Earth." His wife once said, "The only thing that could ever keep him away from the animals he loves are the people he loves even more." Although the Irwins were happily married, they did not wear wedding rings; they believed that in their line of work, wearing jewellery
Jewellery
Jewellery or jewelry is a form of personal adornment, such as brooches, rings, necklaces, earrings, and bracelets.With some exceptions, such as medical alert bracelets or military dog tags, jewellery normally differs from other items of personal adornment in that it has no other purpose than to...

 could pose a hazard
Hazard
A hazard is a situation that poses a level of threat to life, health, property, or environment. Most hazards are dormant or potential, with only a theoretical risk of harm; however, once a hazard becomes "active", it can create an emergency situation. A hazard does not exist when it is not...

 to them and/or the animals.

The Crocodile Hunter and related work

Steve and Terri spent their honeymoon trapping crocodiles together. Film footage of their honeymoon, taken by John Stainton
John Stainton
John Stainton is a motion picture film artist . He was close friends with Australian naturalist Steve Irwin prior to his death in September 2006...

, became the first episode of The Crocodile Hunter
The Crocodile Hunter
The Crocodile Hunter was a wildlife documentary television series that was hosted by Steve Irwin and his wife Terri. The show became a popular franchise due to its unconventional approach and Irwin's approach to wildlife...

. The series debuted on Australian TV screens in 1996, and made its way onto North American television the following year. The Crocodile Hunter became successful in the United States, the UK, and over 130 other countries, reaching 500 million people. Irwin's exuberant and enthusiastic presenting style, broad Australian accent
Australian English
Australian English is the name given to the group of dialects spoken in Australia that form a major variety of the English language....

, signature khaki
Khaki
This article is about the fabric. For the color, see Khaki . Kaki, another name for the persimmon, is often misspelled "Khaki".Khaki is a type of fabric or the color of such fabric...

 shorts, and catchphrase
Catch phrase
A catchphrase is a phrase or expression recognized by its repeated utterance. Such phrases often originate in popular culture and in the arts, and typically spread through a variety of mass media , as well as word of mouth...

 "Crikey!" became known worldwide. Sir David Attenborough
David Attenborough
Sir David Frederick Attenborough OM, CH, CVO, CBE, FRS, FZS, FSA is a British broadcaster and naturalist. His career as the face and voice of natural history programmes has endured for more than 50 years...

 praised Irwin for introducing many to the natural world, saying "He taught them how wonderful and exciting it was, he was a born communicator."

American satellite and cable television channel Animal Planet
Animal Planet
Animal Planet is an American cable tv specialty channel that launched on October 1, 1996. It is distributed by Discovery Communications. A high-definition simulcast of the channel launched on September 1, 2007.-History:...

 ended The Crocodile Hunter with a series finale entitled "Steve's Last Adventure." The last Crocodile Hunter documentary spanned three hours with footage of Irwin's across-the-world adventure in locations including the Himalayas
Himalayas
The Himalaya Range or Himalaya Mountains Sanskrit: Devanagari: हिमालय, literally "abode of snow"), usually called the Himalayas or Himalaya for short, is a mountain range in Asia, separating the Indian subcontinent from the Tibetan Plateau...

, the Yangtze River
Yangtze River
The Yangtze, Yangzi or Cháng Jiāng is the longest river in Asia, and the third-longest in the world. It flows for from the glaciers on the Tibetan Plateau in Qinghai eastward across southwest, central and eastern China before emptying into the East China Sea at Shanghai. It is also one of the...

, Borneo
Borneo
Borneo is the third largest island in the world and is located north of Java Island, Indonesia, at the geographic centre of Maritime Southeast Asia....

, and the Kruger National Park
Kruger National Park
Kruger National Park is one of the largest game reserves in Africa. It covers and extends from north to south and from east to west.To the west and south of the Kruger National Park are the two South African provinces of Limpopo and Mpumalanga. In the north is Zimbabwe, and to the east is...

. Irwin went on to star in other Animal Planet documentaries, including Croc Files
Croc Files
Croc Files is a wildlife documentary television series focusing on crocodiles first aired on cable TV channel Animal Planet. It was created as a spin-off to the original Crocodile Hunter and The Crocodile Hunter Diaries series hosted by Australian naturalist Steve Irwin and his wife Terri Irwin...

, The Crocodile Hunter Diaries, and New Breed Vets. During a January 2006 interview on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Irwin announced that Discovery Kids
Discovery Kids
Discovery Kids is an American website owned by Discovery Communications, Inc. created for children. Until October 10, 2010, it was an American digital cable specialty channel, owned by Discovery Communications with television programming for education of children. It was launched in October 1996...

 would be developing a show for his daughter, Bindi Sue Irwin – a plan realised after his death as the series Bindi the Jungle Girl.

Other television and film work

In 1998, Irwin continued, working with director Mark Strickson
Mark Strickson
Mark Strickson is a British TV producer and actor best known for his acting role as the character of Vislor Turlough on the television series Doctor Who.Strickson was born in Stratford-upon-Avon, England...

, to present The Ten Deadliest Snakes in the World. He appeared on several episodes of The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. A 2000 FedEx
FedEx
FedEx Corporation , originally known as FDX Corporation, is a logistics services company, based in the United States with headquarters in Memphis, Tennessee...

 commercial with Irwin lightheartedly dealt with the possibility of occupational death from snakebite and the fanciful notion that FedEx would have saved him, if only FedEx were used.

Under Irwin's leadership, the operations grew to include the zoo, the television series, the Steve Irwin Conservation Foundation (later renamed Wildlife Warriors
Wildlife Warriors
Wildlife Warriors, originally called the Steve Irwin Conservation Foundation, is a conservationist organization that was established in 2002 by Steve Irwin, and his wife Terri Irwin to involve and educate others in the protection of injured, threatened or endangered wildlife...

), and the International Crocodile Rescue. Improvements to the Australia Zoo include the Animal Planet Crocoseum, the rainforest aviary and Tiger Temple. Irwin mentioned that he was considering opening an Australia Zoo in Las Vegas
Las Vegas, Nevada
Las Vegas is the most populous city in the U.S. state of Nevada and is also the county seat of Clark County, Nevada. Las Vegas is an internationally renowned major resort city for gambling, shopping, and fine dining. The city bills itself as The Entertainment Capital of the World, and is famous...

, Nevada, and possibly at other sites around the world.

In 2001, Irwin appeared in a cameo role
Cameo appearance
A cameo role or cameo appearance is a brief appearance of a known person in a work of the performing arts, such as plays, films, video games and television...

 in the Eddie Murphy
Eddie Murphy
Edward Regan "Eddie" Murphy is an American stand-up comedian, actor, writer, singer, director, and musician....

 film Dr. Dolittle 2
Dr. Dolittle 2
Dr. Dolittle 2 is a 2001 American comedy film, and the theatrical sequel to the 1998 film Dr. Dolittle. The continuing tale of the doctor who can talk to the animals—this time, it's Dolittle versus Darwin when the animals launch a labor strike to protect their forest from unscrupulous human...

, in which a crocodile warns Dolittle that he knows Irwin is going to grab him and is prepared to attack when he does, but Dolittle fails to warn Irwin in time. Irwin's only starring feature film role was in 2002's The Crocodile Hunter: Collision Course
The Crocodile Hunter: Collision Course
The Crocodile Hunter: Collision Course is a 2002 Australian comedy-adventure film based on the nature documentary series The Crocodile Hunter, starring Steve Irwin and his wife Terri Irwin. The Irwins play themselves filming an episode of The Crocodile Hunter while trying to protect a crocodile....

, which was released to mixed reviews. In the film Irwin (who portrayed himself and performed numerous stunts) mistakes some CIA
Central Intelligence Agency
The Central Intelligence Agency is a civilian intelligence agency of the United States government. It is an executive agency and reports directly to the Director of National Intelligence, responsible for providing national security intelligence assessment to senior United States policymakers...

 agents for poachers. He sets out to stop them from capturing a crocodile, which, unknown to him, has actually swallowed a tracking transmitter
Tracking transmitter
A Tracking transmitter broadcasts a radio signal which can be detected by a directional antenna By rotating the antenna one can determine the direction the signal lies in and of course whatever it may be attached to...

. The film won the Best Family Feature Film award for a comedy film at the Young Artist Awards. The film was produced on a budget of about US$12 million, and has grossed $33 million. To promote the film, Irwin was featured in an animated short produced by Animax Entertainment
Animax Entertainment
Animax Entertainment is an animation and interactive production studio based in Van Nuys, California. Animax's clients include Disney, ESPN, Warner Bros., National Geographic, Sesame Workshop, WWE and many others. Animax has a particular expertise in Adobe Flash animation and has produced work...

 for Intermix.

In 2002, Irwin and his family appeared in the Wiggles video/DVD release Wiggly Safari, which was set in Australia Zoo and featured singing and dancing inspired by Australian wildlife.

In 2006, Irwin provided his voice for the 2006 animated film Happy Feet
Happy Feet
Happy Feet is a 2006 American-Australian computer-animated family film with music, directed and co-written by George Miller. It was produced at Sydney-based visual effects and animation studio Animal Logic for Warner Bros., Village Roadshow Pictures and Kingdom Feature Productions and was released...

, as an elephant seal
Southern Elephant Seal
The Southern Elephant Seal is one of the two extant species of elephant seal. It is both the most massive pinniped and member of the order Carnivora living today...

 named Trev. The film was dedicated to Irwin, as he died during post-production. Another, previously incomplete scene, featuring Irwin providing the voice of an albatross and essentially playing himself, was restored to the DVD release.

Media campaigns

Irwin was also involved in several media campaigns. He enthusiastically joined with the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service
Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service
The Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service is the Australian government agency responsible for enforcing Australian quarantine laws...

 to promote Australia's strict quarantine
Quarantine
Quarantine is compulsory isolation, typically to contain the spread of something considered dangerous, often but not always disease. The word comes from the Italian quarantena, meaning forty-day period....

/customs
Customs
Customs is an authority or agency in a country responsible for collecting and safeguarding customs duties and for controlling the flow of goods including animals, transports, personal effects and hazardous items in and out of a country...

 requirements, with advertisements and posters featuring slogans such as, "Quarantine Matters! Don't muck with it". His payments for these advertising campaigns were directed into his wildlife fund.

In 2004, Irwin was appointed ambassador for The Ghan, the passenger train running from Adelaide
Adelaide
Adelaide is the capital city of South Australia and the fifth-largest city in Australia. Adelaide has an estimated population of more than 1.2 million...

 to Alice Springs in the central Australian outback, when the line was extended all the way to Darwin
Darwin, Northern Territory
Darwin is the capital city of the Northern Territory, Australia. Situated on the Timor Sea, Darwin has a population of 127,500, making it by far the largest and most populated city in the sparsely populated Northern Territory, but the least populous of all Australia's capital cities...

 on the northern coast that year. For some time he was sponsored by Toyota.

Irwin was a keen promoter for Australian tourism in general and Queensland tourism in particular. In 2002, the Australia Zoo was voted Queensland's top tourist attraction. His immense popularity in the United States meant he often promoted Australia as a tourist destination there. As a part of the United States' "Australia Week" celebrations in January 2006, Irwin appeared at UCLA's Pauley Pavilion
Pauley Pavilion
Edwin W. Pauley Pavilion, commonly known as Pauley Pavilion, is an indoor arena located in the Westwood Village district of Los Angeles, California, on the campus of UCLA. It is home to the UCLA Bruins men's and women's basketball teams...

 in Los Angeles, California.

Search and rescue in Mexico

In November 2003, Irwin was filming a documentary on sea lion
Sea Lion
Sea lions are pinnipeds characterized by external ear-flaps, long fore-flippers, the ability to walk on all fours, and short thick hair. Together with the fur seal, they comprise the family Otariidae, or eared seals. There are six extant and one extinct species in five genera...

s off the coast of Mexico
Mexico
The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...

's Baja California Peninsula
Baja California Peninsula
The Baja California peninsula , is a peninsula in northwestern Mexico. Its land mass separates the Pacific Ocean from the Gulf of California. The Peninsula extends from Mexicali, Baja California in the north to Cabo San Lucas, Baja California Sur in the south.The total area of the Baja California...

 when he heard via his boat's radio that two scuba divers were reported missing in the area. Irwin and his entire crew suspended operations to aid in the search. His team's divers searched with the rescue divers, and Irwin used his vessel to patrol the waters around the island where the incident occurred, as well as using his satellite communications system to call in a rescue plane. On the second day of the search, kayakers found one of the divers, Scott Jones, perched on a narrow rock ledge jutting out from the side of a cliff. Irwin and a crewmember escorted him to Irwin's boat. Jones did not recognise Irwin. The other lost diver, Katie Vrooman, was found dead by a search plane later the same day not far from Jones' location.

Honours

In 1997, while on a fishing trip on the coast of Queensland with his father, Irwin discovered a new species of turtle. Later given the honour of naming the newly discovered species, he named it Irwin's turtle (Elseya irwini
Elseya irwini
Irwin's turtle , is a species of Australian turtle. The female of the species has a pale head with a yellowish horny sheath on the crown....

) after his family. Another newly discovered Australian animal – a species of air-breathing land snail
Snail
Snail is a common name applied to most of the members of the molluscan class Gastropoda that have coiled shells in the adult stage. When the word is used in its most general sense, it includes sea snails, land snails and freshwater snails. The word snail without any qualifier is however more often...

, Crikey steveirwini
Crikey steveirwini
Crikey steveirwini is a species of air-breathing land snail, a terrestrial pulmonate gastropod mollusk in the family Camaenidae. Crikey steveirwini is the only species in the genus Crikey....

, was named after Irwin in 2009.

In 2001, Irwin was awarded the Centenary Medal
Centenary Medal
The Centenary Medal is an award created by the Australian Government in 2001. It was established to commemorate the Centenary of Federation of Australia and to honour people who have made a contribution to Australian society or government...

 by the Australian government for his "service to global conservation and to Australian tourism". In 2004, he was recognised as Tourism Export of the Year. He was also nominated in 2004 for Australian of the Year
Australian of the Year
Since 1960 the Australian of the Year Award has been part of the celebrations surrounding Australia Day , during which time the award has grown steadily in significance to become Australia’s pre-eminent award. The Australian of the Year announcement has become a very prominent part of the annual...

 – an honour which was won that year by Australian cricket captain Steve Waugh
Steve Waugh
Stephen Rodger "Steve" Waugh, AO is a former Australian cricketer and fraternal twin of cricketer Mark Waugh. A right-handed batsman, he was also a successful medium-pace bowler...

. Shortly before his death, Irwin was to be named an adjunct professor at the University of Queensland
University of Queensland
The University of Queensland, also known as UQ, is a public university located in state of Queensland, Australia. Founded in 1909, it is the oldest and largest university in Queensland and the fifth oldest in the nation...

's School of Integrative Biology. On 14 November 2007, Irwin was awarded the adjunct professorship posthumously.

In May 2007, the government of Rwanda
Rwanda
Rwanda or , officially the Republic of Rwanda , is a country in central and eastern Africa with a population of approximately 11.4 million . Rwanda is located a few degrees south of the Equator, and is bordered by Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo...

 announced that it would name a baby gorilla after Irwin as a tribute to his work in wildlife conservation. Also in 2007, the state government of Kerala
Kerala
or Keralam is an Indian state located on the Malabar coast of south-west India. It was created on 1 November 1956 by the States Reorganisation Act by combining various Malayalam speaking regions....

, India named the Crocodile Rehabilitation and Research Centre at Neyyar Wildlife Sanctuary in his honour; however, Terri objected that this action had been taken without her permission and asked the Kerala government in 2009 to stop using Irwin's name and images – a request which the state government complied with in mid-2009.

Environmentalism

Irwin was a passionate conservationist and believed in promoting environmentalism
Environmentalism
Environmentalism is a broad philosophy, ideology and social movement regarding concerns for environmental conservation and improvement of the health of the environment, particularly as the measure for this health seeks to incorporate the concerns of non-human elements...

 by sharing his excitement about the natural world rather than preaching to people. He was concerned with conservation of endangered animals
Endangered species
An endangered species is a population of organisms which is at risk of becoming extinct because it is either few in numbers, or threatened by changing environmental or predation parameters...

 and land clearing
Deforestation
Deforestation is the removal of a forest or stand of trees where the land is thereafter converted to a nonforest use. Examples of deforestation include conversion of forestland to farms, ranches, or urban use....

 leading to loss of habitat. He considered conservation to be the most important part of his work: "I consider myself a wildlife warrior. My mission is to save the world's endangered species." Irwin bought "large tracts of land" in Australia, Vanuatu, Fiji
Fiji
Fiji , officially the Republic of Fiji , is an island nation in Melanesia in the South Pacific Ocean about northeast of New Zealand's North Island...

 and the United States, which he described as "like national park
National park
A national park is a reserve of natural, semi-natural, or developed land that a sovereign state declares or owns. Although individual nations designate their own national parks differently A national park is a reserve of natural, semi-natural, or developed land that a sovereign state declares or...

s" and stressed the importance of people realising that they could each make a difference.

Irwin founded the Steve Irwin Conservation Foundation, which became an independent charity and was later renamed "Wildlife Warriors Worldwide". He also helped found International Crocodile Rescue, the Lyn Irwin Memorial Fund (named in memory of his mother, who died in an automobile crash in 2000), and the Iron Bark Station Wildlife Rehabilitation Facility.

Irwin urged people to take part in considerate tourism and not support illegal poaching
Poaching
Poaching is the illegal taking of wild plants or animals contrary to local and international conservation and wildlife management laws. Violations of hunting laws and regulations are normally punishable by law and, collectively, such violations are known as poaching.It may be illegal and in...

 through the purchase of items such as turtle shells or shark-fin soup.

Sir David Attenborough was an inspiration to Irwin, according to his widow. When presenting a Lifetime Achievement Award to Attenborough after Irwin's death at the British National Television Awards
National Television Awards
The National Television Awards is a British television awards ceremony, broadcast by the ITV network and initiated in 1995. The National Television Awards are the most prominent ceremony for which the results are voted on by the general public. Because of the way the awards are decided, winners are...

 on 31 October 2006, Terri Irwin said, "If there's one person who directly inspired my husband it's the person being honoured tonight.... [Steve's] real, true love was conservation – and the influence of tonight's recipient in preserving the natural world has been immense." Attenborough reciprocated by praising Irwin for introducing many to the natural world, saying, "He taught them how wonderful and exciting it was, he was a born communicator."

Irwin was described after his death by Mark Townend, CEO of RSPCA
RSPCA Australia
RSPCA Australia is an Australian organisation that promotes animal welfare. It is funded in part by the Australian Government but relies on corporate sponsorship, fundraising events and voluntary donations for its income.RSPCA Australia defines its purpose as being the leading authority in animal...

 Queensland, as a "modern-day Noah
Noah
Noah was, according to the Hebrew Bible, the tenth and last of the antediluvian Patriarchs. The biblical story of Noah is contained in chapters 6–9 of the book of Genesis, where he saves his family and representatives of all animals from the flood by constructing an ark...

." British naturalist David Bellamy
David Bellamy
David James Bellamy OBE is a British author, broadcaster, environmental campaigner and botanist. He has lived in County Durham since 1960.-Career:...

 lauded his skills as a natural historian
Natural history
Natural history is the scientific research of plants or animals, leaning more towards observational rather than experimental methods of study, and encompasses more research published in magazines than in academic journals. Grouped among the natural sciences, natural history is the systematic study...

 and media performer. Canadian environmentalist David Suzuki
David Suzuki
David Suzuki, CC, OBC is a Canadian academic, science broadcaster and environmental activist. Suzuki earned a Ph.D in zoology from the University of Chicago in 1961, and was a professor in the genetics department of the University of British Columbia from 1963 until his retirement in 2001...

 paid tribute to Irwin, noting that "[h]umanity will not protect that which we fear or do not understand. Steve Irwin helped us understand those things that many people thought were a nuisance at best, a horror at worst. That made him a great educator and conservationist."

After his death, the vessel MV Robert Hunter owned by the environmental action group Sea Shepherd
Sea Shepherd
The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society is a non-profit, marine conservation organization based in Friday Harbor, Washington in the United States. The group uses direct action tactics to protect sealife...

 was renamed MY Steve Irwin. Shortly before his death, Irwin had been investigating joining Sea Shepherd's 2007–2008 voyage to Antarctica to disrupt Japanese whaling activity. Following his death, the organisation suggested renaming their vessel, and this idea was endorsed by Terri Irwin. Regarding the ship and its new name, Terri said, "If Steve were alive, he'd be aboard with them!"

Sporting activities


Irwin loved mixed martial arts
Mixed martial arts
Mixed Martial Arts is a full contact combat sport that allows the use of both striking and grappling techniques, both standing and on the ground, including boxing, wrestling, Brazilian jiu-jitsu, muay Thai, kickboxing, karate, judo and other styles. The roots of modern mixed martial arts can be...

 competitions and trained with Greg Jackson in the fighting/grappling system of Gaidojutsu.

Like many Australians, he was an avid cricket fan. This was seen during his visit to Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka, officially the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka is a country off the southern coast of the Indian subcontinent. Known until 1972 as Ceylon , Sri Lanka is an island surrounded by the Indian Ocean, the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Strait, and lies in the vicinity of India and the...

 where he played cricket with some local children and said "I love cricket" and "It's a shame we have to go catch some snakes now". This was seen during the Crocodile Hunter episode “Island of the Snakes".

Having grown up in Essendon, Irwin was a fan of the Essendon Bombers
Essendon Football Club
The Essendon Football Club, nicknamed The Bombers, is an Australian rules football club which plays in the Australian Football League...

, an Australian rules football
Australian rules football
Australian rules football, officially known as Australian football, also called football, Aussie rules or footy is a sport played between two teams of 22 players on either...

 club in the Australian Football League
Australian Football League
The Australian Football League is both the governing body and the major professional competition in the sport of Australian rules football...

."Steve Irwin" The Times Online 5 September 2006. URL accessed on 6 September 2006 Irwin took part in an Australian Rules football promotion in Los Angeles as part of "Australia Week" in early 2006. After his death, a picture of Irwin wearing a Bombers Guernsey was shown by ESPN.com
ESPN.com
ESPN.com is the official website of ESPN and a division of ESPN Inc. Since launching in 1995 as ESPNet.SportsZone.com, the website has developed numerous sections including: Page 2, SportsNation, ESPN 3.com, ESPN Motion, My ESPN, ESPN Sports Travel, ESPN Video Games, ESPN Insider, ESPN.com's...

 in their Bottom 10
Bottom 10
The Bottom 10 is a week-by-week regular season "ranking" of the worst ten college football teams in the NCAA Division I FBS. ESPN.con writer Mark Schlabach writes the column each week and is the sole determiner of the teams which are listed.One of the running gags of the Bottom 10 is the "highly...

 ranking of the worst Division I FBS college football
College football
College football refers to American football played by teams of student athletes fielded by American universities, colleges, and military academies, or Canadian football played by teams of student athletes fielded by Canadian universities...

 teams after Week 1 of the season in tribute to him.

Having lived in Queensland most of his life, Irwin was also a fan of rugby league
Rugby league
Rugby league football, usually called rugby league, is a full contact sport played by two teams of thirteen players on a rectangular grass field. One of the two codes of rugby football, it originated in England in 1895 by a split from Rugby Football Union over paying players...

. As a teenager, he played for the Caloundra Sharks as a second-rower, and as an adult he was known to be a passionate Brisbane Broncos
Brisbane Broncos
The Brisbane Broncos are an Australian professional rugby league football club based in the city of Brisbane, the capital of the state of Queensland. Founded in 1988, the Broncos play in Australasia's elite competition, the National Rugby League premiership. They have won six premierships and two...

 fan and was involved with the club on several occasions. On one occasion after turning up to training he asked if he could tackle the largest player, Shane Webcke
Shane Webcke
Shane Webcke is an Australian former professional rugby league footballer, who spent his entire top-grade career playing for the Brisbane Broncos. His position of choice was at prop forward and at his peak he was renowned as the best front rower in the world...

. Despite being thrown to the ground and looking like he'd been crushed he was jovial about the experience. Irwin laughingly shared the experience with the Queensland State of Origin
Rugby League State of Origin
State of Origin is an annual best of three series of rugby league football matches contested by the Maroons and the Blues, who represent the Australian states of Queensland and New South Wales respectively...

 squad before the 2006 series. Irwin also supported rugby union
Rugby union
Rugby union, often simply referred to as rugby, is a full contact team sport which originated in England in the early 19th century. One of the two codes of rugby football, it is based on running with the ball in hand...

, being a fan of the national team, the Wallabies
Australia national rugby union team
The Australian national rugby union team is the representative side of Australia in rugby union. The national team is nicknamed the Wallabies and competes annually with New Zealand and South Africa in the Tri-Nations Series, in which they also contest the Bledisloe Cup with New Zealand and the...

. He once wore a Wallaby jersey during a demonstration at the zoo. A behind-the-scenes episode of The Crocodile Hunter showed Irwin and the crew finding a petrol station in a remote part of Namibia
Namibia
Namibia, officially the Republic of Namibia , is a country in southern Africa whose western border is the Atlantic Ocean. It shares land borders with Angola and Zambia to the north, Botswana to the east and South Africa to the south and east. It gained independence from South Africa on 21 March...

 to watch the Wallabies defeat France
France national rugby union team
The France national rugby union team represents France in rugby union. They compete annually against England, Ireland, Italy, Scotland and Wales in the Six Nations Championship. They have won the championship outright sixteen times, shared it a further eight times, and have completed nine grand slams...

 in the 1999 Rugby World Cup
1999 Rugby World Cup
The 1999 Rugby World Cup was the fourth Rugby World Cup, and the first to be held in rugby union's professional era. The principal host nation was Wales, although the majority of matches were played outside the country, shared between England, France, Scotland and Ireland...

 Final. Irwin was also a talented surfer.

Controversies

A controversial incident occurred during a public show on 2 January 2004, when Irwin carried his one-month-old son, Bob, in his arm while hand-feeding a chicken carcass to Murray, a 3.8 metre saltwater crocodile. The infant was close to the crocodile, and comparisons were made in the press to Michael Jackson
Michael Jackson
Michael Joseph Jackson was an American recording artist, entertainer, and businessman. Referred to as the King of Pop, or by his initials MJ, Jackson is recognized as the most successful entertainer of all time by Guinness World Records...

's dangling his son outside a German hotel window. In addition, child welfare groups, animal rights
Animal rights
Animal rights, also known as animal liberation, is the idea that the most basic interests of non-human animals should be afforded the same consideration as the similar interests of human beings...

 groups, and some of Irwin's television viewers criticised his actions as irresponsible and tantamount to child abuse
Child abuse
Child abuse is the physical, sexual, emotional mistreatment, or neglect of a child. In the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Department of Children And Families define child maltreatment as any act or series of acts of commission or omission by a parent or...

. Irwin apologised on the US NBC Today Show. Both he and his wife publicly stated that Irwin was in complete control of the situation, as he had dealt with crocodiles since he was a small child, and based on his lifetime of experience neither he nor his son were in any danger. He also showed footage of the event shot from a different angle, demonstrating that they were much further from the crocodile than they had appeared in the publicised clip. Terri Irwin said their child was in no more danger than one being taught to swim. No charges were filed; according to one journalist, Irwin told officials he would not repeat the action. The incident prompted the Queensland government to change its crocodile-handling laws, banning children and untrained adults from entering crocodile enclosures.

In June 2004, allegations were made that he disturbed wildlife (namely whale
Whale
Whale is the common name for various marine mammals of the order Cetacea. The term whale sometimes refers to all cetaceans, but more often it excludes dolphins and porpoises, which belong to suborder Odontoceti . This suborder also includes the sperm whale, killer whale, pilot whale, and beluga...

s, seals
Sea Lion
Sea lions are pinnipeds characterized by external ear-flaps, long fore-flippers, the ability to walk on all fours, and short thick hair. Together with the fur seal, they comprise the family Otariidae, or eared seals. There are six extant and one extinct species in five genera...

 and penguin
Penguin
Penguins are a group of aquatic, flightless birds living almost exclusively in the southern hemisphere, especially in Antarctica. Highly adapted for life in the water, penguins have countershaded dark and white plumage, and their wings have become flippers...

s) while filming a documentary, Ice Breaker, in Antarctica. The matter was subsequently closed without charges being laid.

After questions arose in 2003 about Irwin being paid $175,000 worth of taxpayers' money to appear in a television advertisement and his possible political ties, Irwin told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation
Australian Broadcasting Corporation
The Australian Broadcasting Corporation, commonly referred to as "the ABC" , is Australia's national public broadcaster...

 (ABC) that he was a conservationist and did not choose sides in politics. His comments describing Australian Prime Minister John Howard
John Howard
John Winston Howard AC, SSI, was the 25th Prime Minister of Australia, from 11 March 1996 to 3 December 2007. He was the second-longest serving Australian Prime Minister after Sir Robert Menzies....

 as the "greatest leader in the world" earned him scorn in the media.

Irwin was criticised for having an unsophisticated view of conservation in Australia
Conservation in Australia
Conservation in Australia is an issue of state and federal policy. Australia is one of the most biologically diverse countries in the world, with a large portion of species endemic to Australia...

 that seemed more linked to tourism than to the problems Australia faces as a continent
Australia (continent)
Australia is the world's smallest continent, comprising the mainland of Australia and proximate islands including Tasmania, New Guinea, the Aru Islands and Raja Ampat Islands...

. In response to questions of Australia's problems with overgrazing
Overgrazing
Overgrazing occurs when plants are exposed to intensive grazing for extended periods of time, or without sufficient recovery periods. It can be caused by either livestock in poorly managed agricultural applications, or by overpopulations of native or non-native wild animals.Overgrazing reduces the...

, salinity
Salinity in Australia
Soil salinity and dryland salinity are two problems degrading the environment of Australia. Salinity is a concern in most states, but especially in the south-west of Western Australia....

, and erosion
Erosion
Erosion is when materials are removed from the surface and changed into something else. It only works by hydraulic actions and transport of solids in the natural environment, and leads to the deposition of these materials elsewhere...

, Irwin responded, "Cows have been on our land for so long that Australia has evolved to handle those big animals." The Sydney Morning Herald concluded with the opinion that his message was confusing and amounted to "eating roos and crocs is bad for tourism, and therefore more cruel than eating other animals".

Death

On 4 September 2006, Irwin was fatally pierced in the chest by a stingray
Stingray
The stingrays are a group of rays, which are cartilaginous fishes related to sharks. They are classified in the suborder Myliobatoidei of the order Myliobatiformes, and consist of eight families: Hexatrygonidae , Plesiobatidae , Urolophidae , Urotrygonidae , Dasyatidae , Potamotrygonidae The...

 spine while snorkelling at the Great Barrier Reef
Great Barrier Reef
The Great Barrier Reef is the world'slargest reef system composed of over 2,900 individual reefs and 900 islands stretching for over 2,600 kilometres over an area of approximately...

, at Batt Reef
Batt Reef
Batt Reef is a coral reef off Port Douglas in Queensland, Australia. It is centred at and is part of the Great Barrier Reef.The reef is about 18 km long by 5 km wide, lying northwest to southeast, at the northern side of Trinity Passage that leads from the inner Reef channel from Trinity Bay to...

, which is located off the coast of Port Douglas
Port Douglas, Queensland
Port Douglas is a town in Far North Queensland, Australia, approximately north of Cairns. Its permanent population was 948 residents in 2006. The town's population can often double, however, with the influx of tourists during the peak tourism season May–September. The town is named in honour of...

 in north Queensland
Queensland
Queensland is a state of Australia, occupying the north-eastern section of the mainland continent. It is bordered by the Northern Territory, South Australia and New South Wales to the west, south-west and south respectively. To the east, Queensland is bordered by the Coral Sea and Pacific Ocean...

. Irwin was in the area filming his own documentary, Ocean's Deadliest
Ocean's Deadliest
Ocean's Deadliest is a nature documentary hosted by Philippe Cousteau Jr. and Steve Irwin. It was the final documentary made by Irwin by the time of his death, which occurred during filming.-Documentary:...

, but weather had stalled filming. Irwin decided to take the opportunity to film some shallow water shots for a segment in the television program his daughter Bindi Irwin
Bindi Irwin
Bindi Sue Irwin is the daughter of The Crocodile Hunter star Steve Irwin. Bindi is a child celebrity who has tried her hand at acting, singing, songwriting, dancing, and rapping...

 was hosting when the ray suddenly turned and lashed out at him with the spine on its tail.

The events were caught on camera, and a copy of the footage was handed to the Queensland Police
Queensland Police
The Queensland Police Service is the law enforcement agency responsible for policing the Australian state of Queensland. In 1990, the Queensland Police Force was officially renamed the Queensland Police Service and the old motto of "Firmness with Courtesy" was changed to "With Honour We Serve"...

. In an interview with TIME, marine documentary filmmaker and former spearfisherman Ben Cropp
Ben Cropp
Ben Cropp is an Australian former shark hunter and six-time Australian spearfishing champion, having retired from that trade in 1962 to pursue oceanic documentary filmmaking and conservation efforts...

 concluded that Irwin had accidentally boxed the ray in, causing it to attack: "It stopped and twisted and threw up its tail with the spike, and it caught him in the chest.... It's a defensive thing. It's like being stabbed with a dirty dagger.... It's a one-in-a-million thing. I have swum with many rays, and I have only had one do that to me."

Initially, when CNN's Larry King
Larry King
Lawrence Harvey "Larry" King is an American television and radio host whose work has been recognized with awards including two Peabodys and ten Cable ACE Awards....

 interviewed Irwin's colleague John Stainton
John Stainton
John Stainton is a motion picture film artist . He was close friends with Australian naturalist Steve Irwin prior to his death in September 2006...

 late on 4 September 2006, Stainton denied the suggestion that Irwin had pulled the spine out of his chest or that he had seen footage of the event, insisting that the anecdote was "absolute rubbish." However, the following day, when he first described the video to the media, he stated, "Steve came over the top of the ray and the tail came up, and spiked him here [in the chest], and he pulled it out and the next minute he's gone."

It is thought, in the absence of a coroner
Coroner
A coroner is a government official who* Investigates human deaths* Determines cause of death* Issues death certificates* Maintains death records* Responds to deaths in mass disasters* Identifies unknown dead* Other functions depending on local laws...

's report, that a combination of the toxins and the puncture wound from the spine caused Irwin to die of cardiac arrest, with most of the damage being inflicted by tears to arteries or other main blood vessels. A similar incident in Florida a month later, in which a man survived a stingray barb through the heart
Heart
The heart is a myogenic muscular organ found in all animals with a circulatory system , that is responsible for pumping blood throughout the blood vessels by repeated, rhythmic contractions...

, suggested that Irwin's removing the barb might have caused or hastened his death.

Crew members aboard his boat called the emergency services in the nearest city of Cairns and administered CPR as they rushed the boat to the nearby Low Islets to meet an emergency rescue helicopter. However, despite the best efforts of Irwin's crew, medical staff pronounced him dead when they arrived a short time later. According to Dr Ed O'Loughlin, who treated Irwin, "it became clear fairly soon that he had non-survivable injuries. He had a penetrating injury to the left front of his chest. He had lost his pulse and wasn't breathing."
Irwin's body was flown to a morgue in Cairns. His wife, Terri Irwin, who was on a walking tour in Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park
Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park
Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park is located in the Central Highlands area of Tasmania , 165 km northwest of Hobart. The park contains many walking trails, and is where hikes along the well-known Overland Track usually begins...

 in Tasmania at the time, returned via a private plane from Devonport
Devonport, Tasmania
-Sport:The Devonport Football Club is an Australian Rules team competing in the Tasmanian Statewide League. The Devonport Rugby Club is a Rugby Union team competing in the Tasmanian Rugby Union Statewide League...

 to the Sunshine Coast
Sunshine Coast, Queensland
The Sunshine Coast is an urban area in South East Queensland, north of the state capital of Brisbane on the Pacific Ocean coastline. Although it does not have a central business district, by population it ranks as the 10th largest metropolis in Australia and the third largest in...

 with their two children.

Stainton told CNN
CNN
Cable News Network is a U.S. cable news channel founded in 1980 by Ted Turner. Upon its launch, CNN was the first channel to provide 24-hour television news coverage, and the first all-news television channel in the United States...

's Larry King
Larry King
Lawrence Harvey "Larry" King is an American television and radio host whose work has been recognized with awards including two Peabodys and ten Cable ACE Awards....

 that, in his opinion, the videotape of Irwin's fatal accident "should be destroyed". In an interview with Barbara Walters
Barbara Walters
Barbara Jill Walters is an American broadcast journalist, author, and television personality. She has hosted morning television shows , the television newsmagazine , former co-anchor of the ABC Evening News, and current contributor to ABC News.Walters was first known as a popular TV morning news...

 on the American ABC network shortly after Irwin's death, Terri Irwin said she had not seen the film of her husband's deadly encounter with the stingray and that it would not be shown on television. On 3 January 2007, the only video footage showing the events that led to Irwin's death was handed over to Terri, who said that her family had not seen the video and that it would never be made public. In an 11 January 2007 interview with Access Hollywood
Access Hollywood
Access Hollywood is a weekday television entertainment news program covering events and celebrities in the entertainment industry. It was created by former Entertainment Tonight executive producer Jim Van Messel, and is currently directed by Robert Silverstein. In previous years, Doug Dougherty and...

, Terri said that "all footage [had] been destroyed." Despite these statements, numerous videos and still pictures claiming to be of Irwin's death surfaced on YouTube and other Internet sites.

Production was completed on Ocean's Deadliest, which aired for the first time on the Discovery Channel
Discovery Channel
Discovery Channel is an American satellite and cable specialty channel , founded by John Hendricks and distributed by Discovery Communications. It is a publicly traded company run by CEO David Zaslav...

 on 21 January 2007. The documentary was completed with footage shot in the weeks following the accident. According to Stainton, "Anything to do with the day that he died, that film is not available." Irwin's death is not mentioned in the film, aside from a still image of him at the end alongside the text "In Memory of Steve Irwin". Terri Irwin reported in 2007 that Steve had an ongoing premonition that he would die before he reached age 40. She wrote about this in a book about their lives together, Steve and Me.

Reaction

News of Irwin's death prompted reactions around the world. Then Australian Prime Minister
Prime Minister of Australia
The Prime Minister of the Commonwealth of Australia is the highest minister of the Crown, leader of the Cabinet and Head of Her Majesty's Australian Government, holding office on commission from the Governor-General of Australia. The office of Prime Minister is, in practice, the most powerful...

 John Howard
John Howard
John Winston Howard AC, SSI, was the 25th Prime Minister of Australia, from 11 March 1996 to 3 December 2007. He was the second-longest serving Australian Prime Minister after Sir Robert Menzies....

 expressed his "shock and distress" at the death, saying that "Australia has lost a wonderful and colourful son." Queensland Premier
Premiers of Queensland
Before the 1890s, there was no developed party system in Queensland. Political affiliation labels before that time indicate a general tendency only. Before the end of the first decade of the twentieth century, political parties were more akin to parliamentary factions, and were fluid, informal and...

 Peter Beattie
Peter Beattie
Peter Douglas Beattie , Australian politician, was the 36th Premier of the Australian state of Queensland for nine years and leader of the Australian Labor Party in that state for eleven and a half years...

 commented in a Channel Seven
Seven Network
The Seven Network is an Australian television network owned by Seven West Media Limited. It dates back to 4 November 1956, when the first stations on the VHF7 frequency were established in Melbourne and Sydney.It is currently the second largest network in the country in terms of population reach...

 television interview that Irwin would "be remembered as not just a great Queenslander, but a great Australian". The Australian federal parliament opened on 5 September 2006 with condolence speeches by both Howard, and the Leader of the Opposition, Kim Beazley
Kim Beazley
In the October 1998 election, Labor polled a majority of the two-party vote and received the largest swing to a first-term opposition since 1934. However, due to the uneven nature of the swing, Labor came up eight seats short of making Beazley Prime Minister....

. Flags at the Sydney Harbour Bridge were lowered to half mast in honour of Irwin.

Several Australian news websites went down because of high web traffic, and for the first time, the "top ten" list of most-viewed stories for Fairfax Digital news sites was swept by a single topic. Talk-back radio experienced a high volume of callers expressing their grief. The television interview show Enough Rope
Enough Rope
Enough Rope with Andrew Denton is a television interview show originally broadcast on ABC Television in Australia...

re-broadcast a 2003 interview between Irwin and Andrew Denton
Andrew Denton
Andrew Christopher Denton is an Australian television producer, comedian, Gold Logie-nominated television presenter and former radio host, and was the host of the ABC's weekly television interview program Enough Rope. He is known for his comedy and interviewing technique...

 on the evening of his death. The Seven Network
Seven Network
The Seven Network is an Australian television network owned by Seven West Media Limited. It dates back to 4 November 1956, when the first stations on the VHF7 frequency were established in Melbourne and Sydney.It is currently the second largest network in the country in terms of population reach...

 aired a television memorial show as a tribute to Irwin on 5 September 2006, as did the Nine Network
Nine Network
The Nine Network , is an Australian television network with headquarters based in Willoughby, a suburb located on the North Shore of Sydney. For 50 years since television's inception in Australia, between 1956 and 2006, it was the most watched television network in Australia...

 on 6 September.

The US feed of the Animal Planet
Animal Planet
Animal Planet is an American cable tv specialty channel that launched on October 1, 1996. It is distributed by Discovery Communications. A high-definition simulcast of the channel launched on September 1, 2007.-History:...

 cable television channel aired a special tribute to Irwin that started on Monday, 4 September. The tribute continued with the Animal Planet channel showing highlights of Irwin's more than 200 appearances on Discovery Network's shows. CNN
CNN
Cable News Network is a U.S. cable news channel founded in 1980 by Ted Turner. Upon its launch, CNN was the first channel to provide 24-hour television news coverage, and the first all-news television channel in the United States...

 showed a repeat of his 2004 interview on Larry King Live
Larry King Live
Larry King Live is an American talk show hosted by Larry King on CNN from 1985 to 2010. It was CNN's most watched and longest-running program, with over one million viewers nightly....

. Late-night talk show host Jay Leno
Jay Leno
James Douglas Muir "Jay" Leno is an American stand-up comedian and television host.From 1992 to 2009, Leno was the host of NBC's The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. Beginning in September 2009, Leno started a primetime talk show, titled The Jay Leno Show, which aired weeknights at 10:00 p.m. ,...

—on whose show Irwin had appeared more than ten times—delivered a tribute describing Irwin as a great ambassador of Australia. There were also tributes on Live with Regis & Kelly and Barbara Walters
Barbara Walters
Barbara Jill Walters is an American broadcast journalist, author, and television personality. She has hosted morning television shows , the television newsmagazine , former co-anchor of the ABC Evening News, and current contributor to ABC News.Walters was first known as a popular TV morning news...

' The View.

Hundreds of people visited Australia Zoo to pay tribute to the deceased entertainer and conservationist. The day after his death, the volume of people coming to pay their respects affected traffic so much that police reduced the speed limit near the zoo and told motorists to expect delays. BBC
BBC
The British Broadcasting Corporation is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters is at Broadcasting House in the City of Westminster, London. It is the largest broadcaster in the world, with about 23,000 staff...

 reported on 13 September that thousands of fans had been to Australia Zoo since Irwin's death, bringing flowers, candles, stuffed animals and messages of support. In the weeks after his death, Irwin's conservation foundation, Wildlife Warriors
Wildlife Warriors
Wildlife Warriors, originally called the Steve Irwin Conservation Foundation, is a conservationist organization that was established in 2002 by Steve Irwin, and his wife Terri Irwin to involve and educate others in the protection of injured, threatened or endangered wildlife...

, reported that thousands of people from around the world were offering their support via donations to the conservation group.

Dan Mathews
Dan Mathews
Dan Mathews is the Senior Vice President of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. He is known for heading PETA's most controversial and attention-getting campaigns, including the "I'd Rather Go Naked Than Wear Fur" ads, as well as campaigns involving celebrities such as Morrissey, Pamela...

, vice-president of the animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is an American animal rights organization based in Norfolk, Virginia, and led by Ingrid Newkirk, its international president. A non-profit corporation with 300 employees and two million members and supporters, it claims to be the largest animal rights...

, said it was "no shock at all that Steve Irwin should die provoking a dangerous animal." He added that "Irwin made his career out of antagonising frightened wild animals, that's a very dangerous message to send to children." He also made a comparison with another well known conservationist: "If you compare [Irwin] with a responsible conservationist like Jacques Cousteau
Jacques-Yves Cousteau
Jacques-Yves Cousteau was a French naval officer, explorer, ecologist, filmmaker, innovator, scientist, photographer, author and researcher who studied the sea and all forms of life in water...

, he looks like a cheap reality TV star." The son of Jacques Cousteau, Jean-Michel Cousteau
Jean-Michel Cousteau
Jean-Michel Cousteau is a French explorer, environmentalist, educator, and film producer. The first son of ocean explorer Jacques Cousteau, he is the father of Fabien Cousteau and Celine Cousteau.-Biography:...

—also a producer of wildlife documentaries—took issue as well with Irwin's hands-on approach to nature television, saying, "You don't touch nature, you just look at it." Cousteau went on to say that although Irwin's approach "goes very well on television", it would "interfere with nature, jump on animals, grab them, hold them, and have this very, very spectacular, dramatic way of presenting things" which he felt was "very misleading". Jacques Cousteau's grandson and Jean-Michel's nephew, Philippe Cousteau Jr.
Philippe Cousteau Jr.
Philippe Pierre Jacques-Yves Arnault Cousteau, Jr. is the son of Philippe Cousteau, having been born several months after the death of his father, and the grandson of Jacques-Yves Cousteau...

, however, was working with Irwin on the "Ocean's Deadliest" documentary at the time of the accident and later described him as "a remarkable individual." Describing their project, he said, "I think why Steve was so excited about it that we were looking at these animals that people think of as, you know, dangerous and deadly monsters, and they're not. They all have an important place in the environment and in the world. And that was what his whole message was about."

Backlash against stingrays

Fatalities due to stingrays are infrequent and occurrences are not consistently collated, while there have been several others in Australia. Irwin's death is believed to be the only fatality from a stingray ever captured on film. In the weeks following Irwin's death, at least ten stingrays were found dead and mutilated, with their tails cut off, on the beaches of Queensland
Queensland
Queensland is a state of Australia, occupying the north-eastern section of the mainland continent. It is bordered by the Northern Territory, South Australia and New South Wales to the west, south-west and south respectively. To the east, Queensland is bordered by the Coral Sea and Pacific Ocean...

, prompting speculation that they had been killed by fans of Irwin as an act of revenge. However, Bill Turner, chairman of Queensland fishing information service Sunfish, said the claims were ridiculous. "To tie this into what happened with Steve is just ridiculous", he said. "I've been seeing this for the 50 years that I've been fishing." Michael Hornby, a friend of the late naturalist and executive director of Irwin's Wildlife Warrior fund, condemned any revenge killings. "We just want to make it very clear that we will not accept and not stand for anyone who's taken a form of retribution. That's the last thing Steve would want", he said.

Funeral

Queensland Premier
Premiers of Queensland
Before the 1890s, there was no developed party system in Queensland. Political affiliation labels before that time indicate a general tendency only. Before the end of the first decade of the twentieth century, political parties were more akin to parliamentary factions, and were fluid, informal and...

 Peter Beattie
Peter Beattie
Peter Douglas Beattie , Australian politician, was the 36th Premier of the Australian state of Queensland for nine years and leader of the Australian Labor Party in that state for eleven and a half years...

 offered to hold a state funeral
State funeral
A state funeral is a public funeral ceremony, observing the strict rules of protocol, held to honor heads of state or other important people of national significance. State funerals usually include much pomp and ceremony as well as religious overtones and distinctive elements of military tradition...

 for Irwin – an honour also agreed to by Prime Minister Howard. The family decided, however, that such a funeral would not have been appropriate. Irwin's father Bob stated that his son would not have wanted such an honour and would want to be remembered as an "ordinary bloke
Bloke
Bloke is a slang term for a man. It is commonly used in the UK, Ireland, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand. It is however used in French speaking parts of Canada as a derogative term for the English speaking population.Bloke may also refer to:...

." Beattie stated he would honour the decision of the Irwin family regarding their arrangements.

Family and friends held a private funeral service at Caloundra on the afternoon of 9 September. Irwin was buried in a private ceremony at Australia Zoo on the same day; the grave site is inaccessible to the zoo's visitors.

Public memorial service

A public service was held at the 5,500-seat Crocoseum at Australia Zoo
Australia Zoo
Australia Zoo is a zoo located in the Australian state of Queensland on the Sunshine Coast near Beerwah/Glass House Mountains. It is a member of the Zoo and Aquarium Association , and is owned by Terri Irwin, the widow of Steve Irwin, whose wildlife documentary series The Crocodile Hunter made the...

 on 20 September. The service was broadcast live, commercial free, in the eastern states of Australia, by free-to-air channels Seven
Seven Network
The Seven Network is an Australian television network owned by Seven West Media Limited. It dates back to 4 November 1956, when the first stations on the VHF7 frequency were established in Melbourne and Sydney.It is currently the second largest network in the country in terms of population reach...

, Nine
Nine Network
The Nine Network , is an Australian television network with headquarters based in Willoughby, a suburb located on the North Shore of Sydney. For 50 years since television's inception in Australia, between 1956 and 2006, it was the most watched television network in Australia...

 and the ABC
ABC Television
ABC Television is a service of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation launched in 1956. As a public broadcasting broadcaster, the ABC provides four non-commercial channels within Australia, and a partially advertising-funded satellite channel overseas....

 in Australia, as well as live on subscription channel Sky News Australia
Sky News Australia
Sky News Australia is an Australian 24 hour cable and satellite news channel available in 2.5 million homes on Foxtel, Austar, Optus Television and Neighbourhood Cable subscription platforms....

. In addition, it was broadcast live and without commercials on Animal Planet
Animal Planet
Animal Planet is an American cable tv specialty channel that launched on October 1, 1996. It is distributed by Discovery Communications. A high-definition simulcast of the channel launched on September 1, 2007.-History:...

 in the United States, as well as to Germany, the UK, and Asia. It is estimated that over 300 million viewers worldwide watched the service. The memorial was also rebroadcast in the US on Animal Planet on 1 January 2007, as part of their New Year's Day celebration, and again the following day.

The memorial included a speech by Australian Prime Minister John Howard, as well as messages by celebrities from Australia and around the world including Hugh Jackman
Hugh Jackman
Hugh Michael Jackman is an Australian actor and producer who is involved in film, musical theatre, and television.Jackman has won international recognition for his roles in major films, notably as action/superhero, period and romance characters...

, Cameron Diaz
Cameron Diaz
Cameron Michelle Diaz is an American actress and former model. She became famous during the 1990s with roles in the movies The Mask, My Best Friend's Wedding, and There's Something About Mary. Other high-profile credits include the two Charlie's Angels films, voicing the character Princess Fiona...

, Justin Timberlake
Justin Timberlake
Justin Randall Timberlake is an American pop musician and actor. He achieved early fame when he appeared as a contestant on Star Search, and went on to star in the Disney Channel television series The New Mickey Mouse Club, where he met future bandmate JC Chasez...

, Kevin Costner
Kevin Costner
Kevin Michael Costner is an American actor, singer, musician, producer, director, and businessman. He has been nominated for three BAFTA Awards, won two Academy Awards, and two Golden Globe Awards. Costner's roles include Lt. John J...

, Russell Crowe
Russell Crowe
Russell Ira Crowe is a New Zealander Australian actor , film producer and musician. He came to international attention for his role as Roman General Maximus Decimus Meridius in the 2000 historical epic film Gladiator, directed by Ridley Scott, for which he won an Academy Award for Best Actor, a...

, David Wenham
David Wenham
David Wenham is an Australian actor who has appeared in movies, television series and theatre productions. He is known in Hollywood for his roles as Faramir in The Lord of the Rings film trilogy, Carl in Van Helsing and Dilios in 300 and Neil Fletcher in Australia...

, Kelly Ripa
Kelly Ripa
Kelly Ripa is an American actress and television host. Since February 2001, she has served as the co-host of talk show Live with Regis and Kelly, along with Regis Philbin and now solo host of Live! With Kelly...

 and Larry King
Larry King
Lawrence Harvey "Larry" King is an American television and radio host whose work has been recognized with awards including two Peabodys and ten Cable ACE Awards....

. Costner called Irwin a fearless man who was brave enough to let people see him as he was. Irwin's father, Bob Irwin, spoke at the memorial, as did his daughter Bindi and associates Wes Mannion
Wes Mannion
Wes Mannion is best known from the series The Crocodile Hunter as Steve Irwin's best friend and director of Australia Zoo.-Early life:...

 and John Stainton. Anthony Field
Anthony Field
Anthony Donald Field AM is an Australian musician and actor. He is best known as a member of the children's group The Wiggles and the 1980s and 90s band The Cockroaches with his brothers, Paul and John and another future Wiggle, Jeff Fatt.Field was the youngest of seven children, and grew up in...

 of The Wiggles
The Wiggles
The Wiggles are a children's group formed in Sydney, Australia in 1991. Their original members were Anthony Field, Phillip Wilcher, Murray Cook, Greg Page, and Jeff Fatt. Wilcher left the group after their first album...

 partly hosted the service, often sharing the screen with various animals, from koalas to elephants. Australian music star John Williamson
John Williamson (singer)
John Robert Williamson AM is an Australian country music singer-songwriter. Williamson has released over thirty-two albums, ten videos, five DVDs, and two lyric books...

 sang True Blue, which was Irwin's favourite song. In a symbolic finish to the service, Irwin's truck was loaded up with gear and driven out of the arena for the last time as Williamson sang. As a final tribute, Australia Zoo staff spelled out Irwin's catchphrase "Crikey" in yellow flowers as Irwin's truck was driven from the Crocoseum for the last time to end the service.

Other memorials

Flags on the Sydney Harbour Bridge
Sydney Harbour Bridge
The Sydney Harbour Bridge is a steel through arch bridge across Sydney Harbour that carries rail, vehicular, bicycle and pedestrian traffic between the Sydney central business district and the North Shore. The dramatic view of the bridge, the harbour, and the nearby Sydney Opera House is an iconic...

 flew at half mast on the day of the memorial service, and several permanent memorials for Irwin have been considered or announced since his death. Premier Peter Beattie suggested a national park be named after Irwin or a permanent memorial might be constructed in his honour, though the details of the structure would depend on Irwin's family. On 1 January 2007, Glass House Mountains Road, the road that runs by the Australia Zoo, was officially renamed Steve Irwin Way. The Australian government announced in July 2007 that there would be a nature park in Australia named after Irwin.

Animal Planet announced it would rename the garden in front of Discovery Communications' world headquarters in Silver Spring
Silver Spring, Maryland
Silver Spring is an unincorporated area and census-designated place in Montgomery County, Maryland, United States. It had a population of 71,452 at the 2010 census, making it the fourth most populous place in Maryland, after Baltimore, Columbia, and Germantown.The urbanized, oldest, and...

, Maryland to be the Steve Irwin Memorial Sensory Garden. Animal Planet also announced the creation of a Steve Irwin Crocodile Hunter Fund (called "The Crikey Fund") to "provide a way for people from across the globe to make contributions in Irwin's honour to support wildlife protection, education and conservation".

On the DVD of the animated film Happy Feet
Happy Feet
Happy Feet is a 2006 American-Australian computer-animated family film with music, directed and co-written by George Miller. It was produced at Sydney-based visual effects and animation studio Animal Logic for Warner Bros., Village Roadshow Pictures and Kingdom Feature Productions and was released...

, there is a deleted scene
Deleted scene
In Entertainment, especially the film and television industry, Deleted scenes are parts of a film removed or censored from or replaced by another scene in the final "cut", or version, of a film...

 in which the main character, Mumble, meets an albatross (voiced by Irwin) and a blue whale. The scene was unfinished at first, but it was included on the DVD release to honour Irwin's memory, as Irwin had insisted on being in a film that contained a message about the environment. However, this scene was removed from the movie, and it was decided to let Irwin play an elephant seal
Elephant seal
Elephant seals are large, oceangoing seals in the genus Mirounga. There are two species: the northern elephant seal and the southern elephant seal . Both were hunted to the brink of extinction by the end of the 19th century, but numbers have since recovered...

 named Trev.

On 4 September 2007, Australian fans gathered at the Irwin family zoo
Zoo
A zoological garden, zoological park, menagerie, or zoo is a facility in which animals are confined within enclosures, displayed to the public, and in which they may also be bred....

 on the Sunshine Coast, Queensland
Sunshine Coast, Queensland
The Sunshine Coast is an urban area in South East Queensland, north of the state capital of Brisbane on the Pacific Ocean coastline. Although it does not have a central business district, by population it ranks as the 10th largest metropolis in Australia and the third largest in...

 to commemorate the first anniversary of Irwin's death. State Premier Peter Beattie
Peter Beattie
Peter Douglas Beattie , Australian politician, was the 36th Premier of the Australian state of Queensland for nine years and leader of the Australian Labor Party in that state for eleven and a half years...

 described Irwin as one of the state's greatest cultural ambassadors. On 15 November, Irwin's widow Terri and children, Bindi and Bob, remembered his life and achievements on "Steve Irwin Day."

An asteroid
Asteroid
Asteroids are a class of small Solar System bodies in orbit around the Sun. They have also been called planetoids, especially the larger ones...

 discovered in 2001 was named 57567 Crikey
57567 Crikey
57567 Crikey is a main-belt minor planet. It was discovered in Needville, Texas, on October 14, 2001. It is named after the signature catchphrase of Australian television personality and wildlife expert Steve Irwin....

 in honour of Irwin and his "signature phrase".

Filmography

Year Film Role Other notes
1997–2004 The Crocodile Hunter
The Crocodile Hunter
The Crocodile Hunter was a wildlife documentary television series that was hosted by Steve Irwin and his wife Terri. The show became a popular franchise due to its unconventional approach and Irwin's approach to wildlife...

Himself
1999–2000 Croc Files
Croc Files
Croc Files is a wildlife documentary television series focusing on crocodiles first aired on cable TV channel Animal Planet. It was created as a spin-off to the original Crocodile Hunter and The Crocodile Hunter Diaries series hosted by Australian naturalist Steve Irwin and his wife Terri Irwin...

Himself
2001 Dr. Dolittle 2
Dr. Dolittle 2
Dr. Dolittle 2 is a 2001 American comedy film, and the theatrical sequel to the 1998 film Dr. Dolittle. The continuing tale of the doctor who can talk to the animals—this time, it's Dolittle versus Darwin when the animals launch a labor strike to protect their forest from unscrupulous human...

Himself Cameo role
2002 Mystery Hunters
Mystery Hunters
Mystery Hunters is a Canadian Documentary television series aimed at a Young audience. It aired on YTV in Canada and on Discovery Kids in the United States. It was also dubbed in Japanese and aired in Japan on NHK....

Himself One episode
2002 The Crocodile Hunter: Collision Course
The Crocodile Hunter: Collision Course
The Crocodile Hunter: Collision Course is a 2002 Australian comedy-adventure film based on the nature documentary series The Crocodile Hunter, starring Steve Irwin and his wife Terri Irwin. The Irwins play themselves filming an episode of The Crocodile Hunter while trying to protect a crocodile....

 
Himself
2004 The Fairly OddParents
The Fairly OddParents
The Fairly OddParents is an American-Canadian animated television series created by Butch Hartman about the adventures of Timmy Turner, who is granted fairy godparents named Cosmo and Wanda. The series started out as cartoon segments that ran from September 4, 1998 to March 23, 2001 on Oh Yeah!...

 
The Bad Parent Hunter Episode: Nega Timmy
2006 5 Takes: Pacific Rim Himself One Episode
2006 Happy Feet
Happy Feet
Happy Feet is a 2006 American-Australian computer-animated family film with music, directed and co-written by George Miller. It was produced at Sydney-based visual effects and animation studio Animal Logic for Warner Bros., Village Roadshow Pictures and Kingdom Feature Productions and was released...

Trev (voice)
2007 Ocean's Deadliest
Ocean's Deadliest
Ocean's Deadliest is a nature documentary hosted by Philippe Cousteau Jr. and Steve Irwin. It was the final documentary made by Irwin by the time of his death, which occurred during filming.-Documentary:...

Himself TV Special (Released after death), In Memory of.
2007–2008 Bindi the Jungle Girl Himself TV series, released after death. New and Archive Footage

External links

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