Crocodile Hunter, Steve Irwin, Killed by Stingray
Steve Irwin, the popular Australian film and television personality, environmentalist and animal rights advocate—known to millions of fans worldwide as The Crocodile Hunter—was killed Monday after being stung in the chest by a stingray. The incident occurred during a diving expedition while Irwin was filming an underwater documentary near the Great Barrier Reef. He was 44 years old.
Irwin collapsed at Batt Reef, Low Isle, near the resort town of Port Douglas in Queensland, Australia at approximately 11 a.m. local time, according to a statement issued by the Queensland Police Service. Crew members aboard Irwin’s boat, Croc One, called emergency services and performed CPR on Irwin as they rushed him by boat to the nearest town. An emergency helicopter was dispatched as soon as Irwin’s crew called for medical treatment, but Irwin was pronounced dead at the scene.
Irwin owned and operated the Australia Zoo in Queensland, which he expanded and renamed after taking over the business from his parents, naturalists Lyn and Bob Irwin. He was famous worldwide for his enthusiastic trademark cry of “Crikey!” and his passion for wildlife, which were showcased in feature films and a hit television series, The Crocodile Hunter, that aired internationally on the Discovery Channel.
Stingrays have wide flat bodies that look almost like wings as they swim gracefully through the water. They have spiny, serrated tails that contain venom and can inflict painful injuries, but stingrays are usually not aggressive and the wounds they inflict are rarely fatal to humans. It is believed that Irwin either suffered a form of cardiac arrest as a result of the puncture wound to his chest, or that the bayonet-like barb of the stingray actually pierced his heart. The exact details will not be known until an autopsy is performed.
Irwin is survived by his wife and co-star, Terri, an American from Eugene, Oregon, their daughter Bindi Sue, who is 8 years old, and their 2-year-old son Bob.