Steve Irwin, The Croc Hunter, RIP

The good die young in this case,

Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin has been killed in a stingray attack near Cairns on Australia’s far north coast.

It was believed Irwin had been swimming off the coast of Cairns when he was stung.

“It is understood he was killed by a stingray barb that went through his chest,” Brisbane’s Courier Mail reported this afternoon.

Irwin’s wife Terri was believed to be trekking on Tasmania’s Cradle Mountain, Sky News reported.

Stingray attacks are considered extremely rare. There have only been two similar deaths reported in Australia.

A life lived to the fullest.

In June 1992, he married American Terri Raines after they met when she visited Irwin’s Australia Zoo.

The 44-year-old is survived by his wife and two children, Bindi and Robert.

The news is an hour old, and google news has over 100 hits. He was never one of the phony celebrities, but rather someone that took his expertise to the public. When so many have never seen nature (and many of his detractors have rarely been outside urban areas like with the baby incident) he brought nature to the masses.

UPDATE (James Joyner): A sad loss, indeed. Given what he did for a living and his seemingly reckless enthusiasm, I suppose this end was inevitable. Then again, his dad, Bob, has lived to a ripe old age after following a similar path.

Australia News has more details.

A DOCTOR and witnesses have told of the desperate efforts to save Australian icon Steve Irwin after the Crocodile Hunter was struck in the chest by a stingray barb today. Irwin, 44, died this morning after being fatally injured while filming a nature documentary off Queensland.

Steve and Terri Irwin Tragedy ... Steve Irwin - pictured here with his wife Terri - has died aged 44 in a horrific accident involving a stingray while filming an underwater documentary in Queensland / News Limited newspapers The news has shocked the nation and prompted a rush of tributes from politicians and the public alike.

Irwin’s wife Terri was in Tasmania at the time of the tragedy and had to be contacted by police with the terrible news. The couple’s daughter Bindi, 8, was with her father in north Queensland, Irwin’s manager John Stainton said from Cairns.

Choking back tears, Mr Stainton said Irwin had gone “over the top of a stingray and a stingray’s barb went up and went into his chest and put a hole into his heart”. “He possibly died instantly when the barb hit him, and I don’t think that he … felt any pain.”

Professional diver Pete West was on board a nearby boat and was asked by Irwin’s team to call in the emergency. Asked on Channel 7 if Irwin was alive when they got him on his own boat, Mr West said: “I believe so.” “He was doing what he did best and unfortunately today he wasn’t quick enough.”

Dr Ed O’Loughlin was aboard the Emergency Management Queensland Helicopter which was called from Cairns at 11.21am (AEST). Irwin was being given CPR at Low Isles, off Port Douglas, as the helicopter arrived less than one hour after the incident, but Dr O’Loughlin said nothing could be done to save him.
“It became clear fairly soon that he had non-survivable injuries,” Dr O’Loughlin said. “He had a penetrating injury to the left front of his chest. He had lost his pulse and wasn’t breathing.”

Mr Stainton admitted he had always feared Irwin might meet his death while working with wildlife, but added that Irwin himself was never scared. “We’ve been in some pretty close shaves. (But) nothing would ever scare Steve or would worry him. He didn’t have a fear of death at all.”


John Weigel, of the Australian Reptile Park on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, said Irwin’s death would be “devastating to a lot of people”. “He walked into the room like someone had opened the window and let the light in. “He seemed invincible and it’s a great shock that it could happen.”

Steve Irwin – known worldwide as the Crocodile Hunter – was famous for his enthusiasm for wildlife and his catchcry “Crikey!”. In an sad twist, it has been reported that his new documentary was aimed at demystifying the stingray. However Mr Stainton said Irwin was filming other footage for a program with Bindi at the time of the attack.

Irwin’s Crocodile Hunter program was first broadcast in 1992 and has been shown around the world on cable network Discovery. He has also starred in movies and has developed the Australia Zoo wildlife park, north of Brisbane, which was started by his parents Bob and Lyn Irwin.

Tributes quickly poured in for the larger-than-life character. Prime Minister John Howard said Irwin was a typical Australian larrikin who brought joy to millions of people around the world. “I am quite shocked and distressed at Steve Irwin’s sudden, untimely and freakish death,” he said. “It’s a huge loss to Australia.”

A Tourism Queensland spokeswoman said the death was shocking and paid tribute to Irwin’s “enormous contribution” to his adopted state. “I don’t think we could even estimate how much he brought us through his personality and his profile and his enthusiasm about Queensland,” she said.

UPDATE (James Joyner): Irwin’s death is not entirely without controversy, with some colleagues saying he pushed the envelope too far.

Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin – killed by a stingray barb through the chest – was a victim of ‘voyeuristic wildlife TV’, fellow experts said today. As tributes poured in for the quirky 44-year-old, survival expert Ray Mears said his death was a “sobering lesson”.

Mears said the Australian’s death was a tragedy and his heart went out to his family. But he added that it proved “some things in nature should be left alone”. He said: “He clearly took a lot of risks and television encouraged him to do that. “It’s a shame that television audiences need that to be attracted to wildlife.
“Dangerous animals, you leave them alone because they will defend themselves. Nature defends itself, it isn’t all about hugging animals and going ‘ahh’. “It’s wonderful to observe but you have to be sensible and maintain a safe distance.”

Mears warned of the “gladiatorial” television of today and labelled some wildlife shows “voyeuristic”. He continued: “Television has become very gladiatorial and it’s not healthy. “The voyeurism we are seeing on television has a cost and it’s that cost Steve Irwin’s family are paying today.”

David Bellamy called him “one of the great showmen and conservationists” and wildlife expert Mark O’Shea said it would leave an “immense hole” in the worlds of conservation and television.


Irwin’s death was only the third known stingray death in Australian waters, said shark and stingray expert Victoria Brims. Wildlife experts said the normally passive creatures only sting in defence, striking with a bayonet-like barb when they feel threatened or are trodden on.


Dr Bellamy called Irwin one of the “world’s great conservationists and showmen” and admitted he cried on hearing the news this morning. He said: “He was magic and for the world of conservation and natural history to lose him is very, very sad. “Everyone said he imitated me but if I could be as good as him I would be very proud. “I used to be castigated by people saying I was a showman because I made jokes but what good is it preaching to the converted?” He continued: “The thing with Steve was he mixed damn good science with showbusiness and I don’t know anyone else who did that. “I’m quite sure all the crocs in Australia are smiling, not crocodile tears, because he made them famous. “When I heard this morning I cried, the world really has lost a very, very important natural historian.”

British zoologist O’Shea said Irwin’s death would leave an “immense hole” in the worlds of conservation and television. O’Shea, who has himself presented television programmes about dangerous reptiles, said Irwin had helped “pave the way” for other people working in the field. He said: “Although we had different styles of working and I did not know him personally, I am actually completely shocked. “It is going to leave an immense hole. What he has done for conservation in Australia is massive.” He said that although some “university professors” might have turned their noses up at the way presenters like Irwin portrayed reptiles, he had probably inspired many people to follow a future in conservation. “A lot of people who now want to study biology and work with animals may not have considered it before they watched him on television,” he said.

Quite so. Irwin took a lot of risks, without a doubt, but they weren’t done out of foolishness but with an expert’s keen awareness.

FILED UNDER: Obituaries, , , , , ,
Richard Gardner
About Richard Gardner
Richard Gardner is a “retired” Navy Submarine Officer with military policy, arms control, and budgeting experience. He contributed over 100 pieces to OTB between January 2004 and August 2008, covering special events. He has a BS in Engineering from the University of California, Irvine.


  1. Stevely says:

    What terrible news! I always liked him and enjoyed his shows. He will be missed.

  2. lily says:

    I am really sorry. He was a fun guy, so full of enthusiasm, kind of like a great bit sixth-grader in the best way. When I was home recovering from surgery and feeling very bleak and sore I watched hours of Animal Planet and his show made me feel better.

  3. Gee, who would have guessed that Steve Irwin would die after annoying a poisonous critter one time to many? I’M SHOCKED!!

  4. Wickedpinto says:

    Stingrays are not poisonous, at least to humans.

    The love of my life is Australian, and she was startled, not at his death, that was expected, he was less than reasonable in his lunacy, but she was startled at how sad she was.

    Steve, gave the world a picture of Australia that consisted of much more than a panoramic of “The Big Red Rock” as I called it (and thats just what it is,I’ve been there , Ayers Rock/Uluru is little more than a big red rock, frasier islands are much more impressive)

    Steve, wasn’t a tourist attraction, he gave Australia a real flavor, he defined a real independance of Australia as something more than “America on an Island” another Australian friend described the general attitude of Australia. Steve pointed to the life, to the land, to the diversity and the aspects.

    He’s a lunatic, don’t get me wrong, he was a lunatic from day one, even nigel whatsisface ain’t got the nuts to take the insanity of steve to the screen or into himself. Steve, I think,, didn’t just love the animals, he love Australia, and he realized that he needed to be a showman, so he became one, and GOD BLESS HIM (I’m an atheist, so I REALLY mean it) HE was a GREAT showman, and he succeeded.

    How many trips would you LIKE to take to Australia to places other than the big red rock, because Steve showed you where to go, and what to see?

    He was more than a lunatic, he was a spokesman, a loopy one, but a brilliant spokesman for the wonders of Australia. I’ve been to AU, and I been across the continent, and I felt like a goon for missing out on the good stuff, that steve showed me some months later while watching “crocodile hunter”

  5. randall says:

    I knew it would happen some day, I thought it would be from a snake bite. My kids are very upset because they have grown up watching Steve’s shows and they feel like they really know him. Anyone who loves wildlife needs to hold up Steve’s family in their thoughts and prayers.

  6. Carol Ann Riley says:

    I am still in shock!

    I have read many comments in the news about this man and I don’t understand why no one else has come forward with the same insight into this man’s life that I want to share.

    I loved everything about this man. His documentaries were by far my most favorite. His love of life and family which he openly displayed was an example to all of us on how to “live and love”.

    His legacy should be that he was the “role model” everyone should emulate, especially children. The absolute best. I still can not think of anyone better. There are far too many “less than desirable” people presented to us as role models by way of politics, TV and music. His work in conservation should only stands as an example of how he lived and loved. Let me briefly explain what my beliefs are based on.

    As part of my explanation, I never understood why Steve took so much criticism for taking his son with him to feed a croc. Why didn’t they see Terri hand Bob to Steve? Why would Terri give her one month old son to Steve if she thought they were in danger? Why didn’t people see the croc swim away from Steve when he finished feeding the croc?

    Please, give the man credit for having some brains. After all, he was smart enough to entertain us all and make us believe in what he believed in by using “a sense of danger”.

    Many have commented about the risks he took. Yet, why didn’t they see the programs I did that showed the “behind the scenes” precautions that he took…and the many “retakes” he did to get the scene “just right”.

    He never had any acting lessons. He was an absolute “natural” in front of a camera. A talent that can not be taught.

    I always resented people saying that “a croc would get him” because they didn’t see the theatrics involved. His death is clearly a freak accident. What are the chances that the stingray would have hit Steve in the chest? A million to one?

    He was truly one of a kind and I will miss him and grieve that our future generations will not know him first hand the way we did. I am grateful that most of his live is preserved in film.

    Will there ever be anyone who could fill his shoes?

    My sincere sympathy goes out to his entire family, including those that worked with him and for him.

  7. Rodrigo says:

    My heart goes to his family but in my believe he is one of the few lucky enough to die doing what he love so much. Very few have inspired so many; so the good die young! Steve you still are the greatest!

  8. McGehee says:

    he is one of the few lucky enough to die doing what he love so much.

    I’ll second that.

  9. Tristan Hart says:

    I’ll miss the crocodile hunter.

    We’ll all miss you steve!!!!!!!

  10. Lemaster\'s says:

    My whole family watches his show and he will be very missed in our household. He had become a big part in our family time and we felt like we had got to know him just like your neighbor next door, ex specially when you watch them everyday. Even though he was half way around the world. All our prayers and best wishes for his family come from the heart. He was a great loss to everyone ex specially us and will make a great warrior up above.

  11. Armand says:

    Hey, when I first heard of Steve`s death, it felt as if a bus hit me. To me he was like a God, I didnt think he could die. I loved his show and never thought he would get killed by a animal. But everyone must die sometime, he just died earlier than everybody thought. But we all will mis you Steve O, and I am praying for Ms Irwin and the two children. Steve you left TO SOON!! In til we meet again, up there. We all will mis and love you, mate. Bae Crocodile Hunter.

  12. John Boyle says:

    I have been diving for over thirty years. Inspired by the likes of Steve Irwin to grasp life and enjoy every minuet, as has sadly been demonstrated you never know when your time is up. Once in a while a special person emerges from out of the melee of mankind Steve was one such man a giant among men, he will be sadly missed by the human race, the world is a poorer place without him. Steve’s wife and children are in our thoughts and prayers.

  13. mercedes says:


  14. Andy Weatherspoon says:

    I am destroyed by the loss Mr. Irwin. I sat in a small town in Tennessee and found myself engulfed by Steve. I felt as I could touch the creatures he was showing to the cameras. He will be missed. The animal kingdom has endured a great loss. I cannot believe what I am reading on some of these blogs. I am disgraced to be part of a human race that has no compassion, heart, or feelings for a family that has endured a loss such as the Irwin’s. You should be ashamed of yourselves. You never should take life for granted. Live like you want to live, don’t disrespect a man for living a dream and doing what he wanted to do. That is something you can’t take from him no matter what is said. Live life “FULL OUT LIKE A LIZARD DRINKIN”
    “CROCS RULE” May God be with the Irwin’s.

  15. edie says:

    Steve Irwin,of all people in the world to die,why did it have to be him .Steve Irwin to Australia is like princess Diana to England.I have to say that he was my very favorite person on t.v.I never missed an episode of crocodile hunter.He made me want to go to Australia just to see his zoo and shake his hand and tell him how important he was .There will never be another Steve Irwin.Terri was a very lucky girl to have such a compassionate man by her side.He loved his family and friends and he loved his zoo.Rest in peace Steve.

  16. jill burlingame says:

    One of the best has been taken from us all

  17. Austin says:

    Steve was the man. The most energetic person I have seen in my life. I will miss him dearly. My thoughts and prayers are with his family.

  18. kelly says:

    My son loved to watch his shows and wanted to be like him. Since hearing of his death, my son is quite upset and will not watch anything concerning his death. Steve Irwin will be missed by all, but his family will miss him the most, our thoughts and prayers to the Irwin family.

  19. David james says:

    The untimely passing of Steve Irwin is a great tragedy. This has effected my family more than I could have imagined; he has been a great influence on myself and my two boys. The world will never be the same. In the past, I have dealt with this type of emotional pain through music. Being a song writer and composer, I have written musical compositions and songs to honour friends, family, and fallen heroes to ease the pain and commemorate the contributions they’ve made in life. Steve falls under the obvious catagory of “HERO.” Please accept and share with the world this musical tribute in honour of the great “CROCODILE HUNTER” Steve Irwin.. WE LOVE YOU STEVE!!

    David James

    P.S. – You can visit me at: http;//
    and download the musical tribute “THE MIGHTY STEVE”