Crikey! Steve Irwin is dead!

The man known as “The Crocodile Hunter” has kicked the bucket, but interestingly enough it wasn’t a croc that got him:

The naturalist and television star Steve Irwin has died in a diving accident in far north Queensland. He was 44.

Police say he was stung through the heart by a stingray while diving off Port Douglas.

He was filming a documentary when the accident occurred around midday AEST near the Low Isles.

A helicopter arrived with paramedics on board to try to resuscitate him, but it was too late.

A more detailed account is available through The Sydney Morning Herald:

Friends believe he may have died instantly when struck by a stingray as he filmed a sequence for his eight-year-old daughter Bindi’s new TV series.

Irwin’s friend of 20 years, Ferre De Deyne said Irwin had been struck by the stingray while filming. “The stingray just happened to be swimming around and out of the blue whacked his tail at him,” he said.

“It is absolutely tragic. I have dived so many times with stingrays and they are usually very placid things,” he said.

Irwin had been filming a new documentary called Ocean’s Deadliest with friend and manager John Stainton at Batt Reef, off Port Douglas about 11am.

“He came over the top of a stingray and the stingray’s barb went up and went into his chest and put a hole into his heart,” Mr Stainton said.

“It’s likely that he possibly died instantly when the barb hit him, and I don’t think that he … felt any pain.

“He died doing what he loved best.”

That he did. I wasn’t a big fan of Irwin myself, but I did find him at least slightly amusing in how much he seemed to annoy everyone else. One thing that can’t be denied is how he had become a pop icon all around the world.

Big thanks to LJ19 for sending this in via email.

19 thoughts on “Crikey! Steve Irwin is dead!

  1. I didn’t watch his show regularly, but my daughter has a Wiggles dvd they did at Australia Zoo that he starred in that she absolutely enjoys.  It’s pretty entertaining, even for being a kid’s show.

    RIP Steve.

  2. There have been a total of 17 (18?) recorded human deaths from Stingray strikes, so it’s a very uncommon way to die.  Apparently if you get stung you might wish you’d die because the toxin is really painful and morphine doesn’t help. 

    I only know this useless stuff because I went out hunting for information about it after reading of his death.  Heretofore I’d always thought stingrays were beautiful but harmless.

    Since I am a non-swimmer I rate my chances of dying from stingray attack at vanishingly near zero.  It does seem fitting that Irwin died in such a rare and relevant fashion after annoying so many animals.  Unlikely his daughter sees any poetry in it though.

  3. My little sister went through a big Steve Irwin phase about six years ago. In addition to having a massive crush on him and watching the program religiously, she also sported “Crocodile Hunter” T-shirts, posters, school backpacks, etc. I wonder how she’s going to take the news. Poor kid.  downer

    And RIP, Steve. I have a feeling that you’re going to be missed.

  4. DOF, I think “annoying” is an anthromorphic term for what Steve Irwin did. To borrow a bit from a regular webcomic, these animals are like the etch-a-sketch – most of them are quick to move on after the stimulus disappears.

    I’m gonna drift to a statistical problem. Specifically, the number of people here in the mountains that end up getting too close to wild animals because they think that’s what being in touch with nature is about. I mean, we’re talking bears, fed birds, you name it. Those are dead animals, now. Virtually all people should stay away from these animals; not just because they fear being attacked, but long in advance of such a situation because it is good for the animals’ survival. That’s a critical point most people miss. I make exception for Irwin because he’s a professional and he educated people in a way that few others could. If I remember his show at all, he was usually in the middle of something that needed to be done with the animals anyway, like a capture and relocation or something, and he always stressed the danger he put himself in.

    Unfortunately, a selectively ignorant populace will ruin those efforts. Honestly, I don’t think he could have done a better job in dedicating his life to conservation, on or off the air. The man has my salute.

  5. That really sounds like a rough way to go.  I wonder how this will affect the petting zoos at the water parks, where u can pet sting rays and other normally harmless water animals.  RIP Irwin

  6. Even though I never really liked the dude you have to give credit where it’s due, props for the conservation work he did.

    Rest in peace cobber.

  7. Yes, you can easily get stung just by stepping on them at the beach—they tend to really like the warm shallow water just near the shore and they seem to sleep (?) on the bottom and get covered with sand. You don’t even really see them until you’re right on them. I taught the kids to “shuffle” their feet when they walk in the shallows in order to avoid stepping on them—if you shuffle, they’ll skitter away when you get near.

    Was he killed by the venom or the stinger itself? Does anyone know?

  8. One of their statements I read said that the stinger was quite large and that it pierced his heart, killing him instantly.  I guess if you get a large hole ripped in your heart by an enormous venom-spewing stinger, while you are scuba-diving, you’re done for.

  9. I forgot to say, sorry if I implied that he deserved to die, only that it seemed poetically fitting that he died the way he did.  Of course it would be better if we were having this conversation thirty years from now.  For one thing, it would mean that we pulled off another thirty years!  cool smirk  And Irwin, too.

  10. And triple-posting just for the hell of it, our favorite surgical oncologist, Orac, has the complete medical sidebar to Irwin’s untimely demise!  As usual, his commenters have even more information and fascinating links about stingrays, etc.

  11. I forgot to say, sorry if I implied that he deserved to die, only that it seemed poetically fitting that he died the way he did.

    My wife and I both are saddened by his loss, but the first thing the wife said when I told her was “So it wasn’t a croc that got him?”

    I’m sure that no matter the manner of his passing, it’s going to be measured by if he was killed by wildlife or not.

  12. EO: Even though I never really liked the dude you have to give credit where it’s due, props for the conservation work he did.

    Yeah, he was a bit over the top but his enthusiasm was real and he made me smile.
    When I heard it was a stingray that got him I went straight back to over 44 years ago when I was snorkelling for crayfish with some mates off Sisters Beach. I was down about 30’, grabbed a cray in my leather-gloved hand, turned to come back up and saw a school of about 20 (allow for exaggeration – 15) stingrays swimming above me. They were small and ranged in size from 1 >> 3’ across.
    I was forced to hold my breath a bit longer as they passed by left to right.
    When I got back in the dinghy (with my cray) my mates said the stingrays wouldn’t have hurt me.
    Up until yesterday there was a glimmer of doubt in my fear of ‘rays. Not now. wink

    DoF: … it seemed poetically fitting that he died the way he did.

    Yeah. He said if he died, he would be sad if no one got it on tape.
    Well they got it on tape and the cops have a copy to be used in the coronial inquiry.
    Reports are that it showed he wasn’t annoying the ‘ray.
    He packed a lot of life into his 44 years.
    Vale Steve.  smile

  13. LuckyJohn: He packed a lot of life into his 44 years.

    Very true. He probably did more living than most people would if they made it to one hundred.

  14. He probably did more living than most people would if they made it to one hundred.

    Compared to me, absolutely.  I’ve had a few animal encounters; a number of rattlesnakes, a few bears, an alligator.  None of them showed even the slightest interest in me, which was fine and I sure wasn’t going to wrestle them for the camera.  Only animals that ever tried to do me serious harm so that medical attention was required, were a spider, three dogs and a cat. 

    EyesOnly, that was a cool link.
    By that yardstick, I wouldn’t have that much adventure if I lived to be a thousand.

  15. I was a big Irwin fan during early-mid grade school. It was a tragedy what happened but at least he lived a fulfilling and -apprantly- happy life and did a job he loved. How many of us can say that? 30%? 10%?

    I fill sorry for his family. His son just turned 3.

  16. Family
    In 1992, Irwin married Terri Baines from Eugene, Oregon, in the United States. The pair had met a few months earlier when Terri had visited the zoo on a holiday. Together they had two children: a daughter, Bindi Sue Irwin (born 24 July 1998), and a son, Robert Clarence “Bob” Irwin (born 1 December 2003). Bindi Sue is jointly named after two of Steve’s favourite animals: Bindi, a saltwater crocodile, and Sui, a dog that died in 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 Terri once said, “The only thing that could ever keep him away from the animals he loves are the people he loves even more.”

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