Steve Irwin died while documenting footage for the children's program for his daughter. A stingray had attacked him more than 100 times. It's been more than 12 years since his death, but his family continues to work towards conservation of wildlife.
After the untimely death of "Crocodile Hunter" Steve Irwin in 2006 his family was shocked and riddled with grief. The Australian TV host and conservationist is survived by wife Terri, daughter Bindi, now 21, and son Robert, now 15. He was at the peak of his career and used his fame to save as many animals as possible. Taking care of animals wasn't just something that he did; it was who he was, and his family thinks the same. They are carrying forward his legacy by taking care of 1,200 animals at the Australian Zoo and are back on TV after a long hiatus.
His son, Robert, was only a toddler when Steve died after being stung more than 100 times by a stingray. He had been filming for an underwater documentary called Ocean's Deadliest at Batt Reef, near Port Douglas, Queensland, Australia. He and his cameraman Justin Lyons encountered an eight-foot-wide stingray as they were snorkeling to record footage for his daughter's children's program Bindi the Jungle Girl, according to Popsugar.
They wanted to take one last shot, but the usually docile stingray started "stabbing wildly with its tail." The injuries were too serious for Steve to recover from.
The untimely death had shocked his fans, but his wife says that Steve won't have been shocked by it. "He never thought he'd have a long life," Terri had said in July 2018, according to ABC Australia. "He always kind of had this sense his life would be cut short."
Before he died, he wanted to stop filming to spend time with his children. "I remember him saying to me 'I don't think I'm going to film anymore, I think I'm just going to spend time with my kids.'"
The last time she saw him was before she and her children were going to fly to Tasmania while Steve was going to film for the documentary, which eventually became his last.
"I remember him at the airstrip waving goodbye. That was the last time we saw him," she said. "Those were the days when communication wasn't as good. There wasn't much in range in Tasmania. I got to our destination for the night and they said 'you need to call your zoo manager.'"
After he died, eight-year-old Bindi spoke at the memorial service because it helped her cope with the grief. "We were all so, so sad but I could focus on this project," she tells Cosmopolitan. "Every day I'd work on my speech with Mum, who would help me. On the day, I held my little paper and used my finger to read the words because I was afraid I'd miss one. It was one of the most powerful moments after losing Dad."
The only way they could move forward was because they had charted a course before he died. “It was a distinct advantage to have a plan because when you lose someone so suddenly like that, it’s really hard to keep functioning. The floor just drops out from under you," Terri told Express UK.
Now, the family has come together to keep moving his legacy forward. Steve always wanted to earn money so that he could give back to the cause of conservation, which was close to his heart.
His son, Robert, who looks so much like him, and Bindi, who was a star in his own right already, are using their fame to create more family-friendly programs that will make conservation mainstream. It will help young adults and teens connect with them and inspire them to take similar steps forward.
The trio also loves all the scary reptiles that Steve did and are as comfortable with them as he was.