Historic Unedited Photos They Don’t Want You To See
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Historic Unedited Photos They Don’t Want You To See
Irwin and marine biologist Chris Jones smile for the camera aboard Croc 1, Irwin's boat. He died two days later in a freak stingray attack.
“I have no fear of losing my life. If I have to save a koala or a crocodile or a kangaroo or a snake, mate, I will save it.” Known as “The Crocodile Hunter” to his millions of adoring fans, Steve Irwin was an Australian zookeeper, conservationist, and television personality who thrived on sharing his love of animals with the world. Irwin owned and operated the Australia Zoo, which was founded by his parents, but he gained international fame in the mid-1990s when he starred in his hit television series, The Crocodile Hunter (1996-2007). The internationally broadcast wildlife documentary series was an instant hit and led to other projects like Croc Files (1999-2001), The Crocodile Hunter Diaries (2002-2006), and New Breed Vets (2005). Advertisements:
Irwin was at the height of his success when he lost his life at 44 years old in Batt Reef, Queensland, Australia doing what he loved. He was filming the underwater documentary, Ocean’s Deadliest, when he was pierced in the heart by a stingray barb on September 4, 2006. Today, Irwin’s passion and legacy live on through his wife, Terri, and their children—Bindi Sue and Robert Clarence.
Life and Career
Stephen Robert Irwin came into this world on February 22, 1962, in Essendon, Victoria, Australia as the son of wildlife experts. His parents moved the family to Queensland in 1970 where they established the Queensland Reptile and Fauna Park. As a child, Irwin took an early interest in his parent’s work and, when he wasn’t attending Landsborough State School or Caloundra State High School, he helped out at the park with daily feedings and maintenance. Drawn to crocodiles and other reptiles, he was thrilled when his parents gave him a 12-foot scrub python for his sixth birthday. By the age of nine, he wrestled his first crocodile alongside his dad and, as a teen, volunteered for the Queensland’s East Coast Crocodile Management Program where he captured over 100 crocodiles. “Since I was a boy, from this house, I was out rescuing crocodiles and snakes,” Irwin said of his passion. “My mum and dad were very passionate about that and I was lucky enough to go along.”
In 1991, Irwin took over management of the park and later renamed it the Australia Zoo. During this time, he met and fell in love with an American naturalist named Terri Raines on her visit to the zoo. For the couple, it was love at first sight as Terri recalled, “I thought there was no one like this anywhere in the world. He sounded like an environmental Tarzan, a larger-than-life superhero guy.” Engaged within four months, they married in June 1992 and spent their honeymoon trapping crocodiles together. Recording their adventures on film, the footage was turned into a television series—The Crocodile Hunter, which made its debut on Australian television in 1996. “So now what happens is the cameras follow me around and capture exactly what I’ve been doing since I was a boy,” Irwin said of the show. “Only now we have a team of, you know, like 73 of us, and it’s gone beyond that.”
By 1997, The Crocodile Hunter expanded into the United States and the United Kingdom, eventually reaching over 130 countries and 500 million viewers. Irwin’s passion for animals and his excitement made him a fan favorite as he made catchphrases like “Crikey” popular among fans around the world. Amid his success with The Crocodile Hunter, Irwin also made the rounds on late-night television with appearances on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno as well as in film with a cameo opposite Eddie Murphy in Dr. Dolittle 2 (2001). He starred in the 2002 film The Crocodile Hunter: Collison Course and voiced Trev, the elephant seal, in the 2006 animated film Happy Feet.
Amid his growing success, Irwin and his wife added to their family with the births of daughter Bindi Sue on July 24, 1998, and son Robert Clarence Irwin on December 1, 2003. With Bindi and her brother often joining their parents on television, even more fans tuned in to watch specials like Croc Files (1999-2001), The Crocodile Hunter Diaries (2002-2006), and New Breed Vets (2005).
Death and Legacy
Irwin was at the height of his career when he took on a new project—the documentary series Ocean’s Deadliest. The project took him to Batt Reef near Port Douglas, Queensland on September 4, 2006. During a break in the ongoing inclement weather, Irwin jumped in the shallow waters to snorkel, which was filmed for his daughter’s new series, Bindi the Jungle Girl. He was in chest-deep water when a short-tail stingray with a span of 6.5 feet swam nearby. Irwin approached the stingray from behind just as the stingray struck wildly with its tail, hitting Irwin in the chest. Irwin initially thought he had a punctured lung, but the stingray’s barb punctured his heart and caused him to bleed to death. Crew members on board Irwin’s boat administered CPR and, once on shore, he was rushed to Low Isles where he was pronounced dead on the scene.
As the world mourned Irwin’s death, footage from the incident was reviewed and later destroyed on request from his family. Irwin was laid to rest in a private gravesite on the Australia Zoo grounds. In the years since his death, his wife and children have carried on his legacy and passion for animals in special projects like My Daddy, the Crocodile Hunter (2007), Secrets of the Crocodile (2007), Bindi, the Jungle Girl (2007-2008), and Crikey! It’s the Irwins (2018-Present). At the heart of these projects is Irwin’s motto of excitement and exuberance as he once said, “I believe that education is all about being excited about something.”