When I lived in Schurz, I watched Animal Planet nearly non-stop. So the news today has got me feeling a bit sad. Not that it is entirely unexpected, but you always hope those kinds of guys manage to keep escaping by the skin of their teeth. The whole world will miss you, Steve-o…
On 4 September 2006, Irwin was fatally pierced in the chest by a stingray barb, while diving off Queensland’s Great Barrier Reef. He had been filming a segment for his daughter Bindi’s upcoming television series. Irwin was in the area filming his own documentary, to be called Ocean’s Deadliest, but weather had stalled filming. Irwin decided to take the opportunity to film some shallow water shots for his daughter’s television programme. The BBC reported that this was only the second known fatality in Australian history from a stingray attack, while The Age lists it as the third.
Shortly after 11:00 a.m. local time (01:00 UTC), Irwin was filming off the shores of Low Isles, Queensland, near Port Douglas and north of Cairns, where he swam closely to the top of a stingray, and the stingray’s barb peirced his chest and put a hole into his heart. After he was stung, emergency services were called from Cairns Rescue Base and met Croc One, Irwin’s rescue vessel at Low Isle on the Great Barrier Reef. The Croc One crew performed constant CPR during the thirty-minute dash to Low Isle. The Queensland Rescue Helicopter responded, taking him to Cairns Base Hospital, where Irwin was pronounced dead on arrival at noon. The Queensland Police Service notified his family and released a statement for the media concerning his death. News of his death prompted a public outpouring expressing shock and loss. Several Australian news websites went down due to high web traffic and talk-back radio experienced a high volume of callers expressing their grief , commemorating his passion and exuberance. Prime Minister John Howard, among many other politicians, expressed his “shock and distress” at the death, saying that “Australia has lost a wonderful and colourful son.” Steve Irwin’s body was flown to a morgue in Cairns, where stunned family and friends were gathering on Monday night. His wife Terri was informed of her husband’s death while on a walking tour in Tasmania, and returned to the Sunshine Coast with their two children.
Read the entire Steve Irwin bio
Discovery Communications, Inc. Mourns Tragic Loss of Steve Irwin
Statement from Billy Campbell, President, Discovery Networks, U.S. Discovery Communications, Inc.
Our entire company is deeply saddened by the tragic and sudden loss of Steve Irwin, the Crocodile Hunter. Steve was beloved by millions of fans and animal lovers around the world and was one of our planet’s most passionate conservationists. He has graced our air since October 1996 and was essential in building Animal Planet into a global brand.
Steve was killed during a filming expedition on the Great Barrier Reef. While we are still collecting specific details, it was a rare accident in which Steve swam over a stingray and was stung by its barb in his chest. A doctor on board Croc One, Steve’s research vessel, was unable to resuscitate Steve and by the time he was reached by the rescue helicopter he had passed away.
DCI Founder and Chairman, John Hendricks said, “Steve was a larger than life force. He brought joy and learning about the natural world to millions and millions of people across the globe. He was a true friend to all of us at Discovery Communications. We extend our thoughts and prayers to Terri, Bindi and Bob Irwin as well as to the incredible staff and many friends Steve leaves behind.”
DCI CEO and President, Judith McHale said, “I don’t think we will ever get over the loss of Steve Irwin, a human being of enormous heart, irrepressible enthusiasm and dedication to everything he touched.”
Steve’s loss has been felt around the world, evident by the hundreds of heartfelt condolences that have already flooded into Steve’s fan site on AnimalPlanet.com.
To honor Steve and the enormous contribution he made to the world and to our company, DCI will rename the garden space in front of Discovery’s world headquarters in Silver Spring, Maryland, the “Steve Irwin Memorial Sensory Garden.”
DCI is looking at the creation of the Steve Irwin Crocodile Hunter Fund, which we’ll affectionately call “The Crikey Fund” to honor Steve’s passion and exuberance for conservation and the animal kingdom. This fund will allow people from across the globe to make contributions in Steve’s honor to support wildlife protection, education and conservation. The fund in addition to contributions by DCI will also aid Steve’s Australia Zoo in Breewah, Australia as well as educational support for Bindi and Bob Irwin.
Right now, our focus is on Terri and the children. We will keep you informed as plans unfold to pay tribute to our beloved Steve Irwin.
To learn more about Steve Irwin’s sudden and tragic death, visit Discovery News.