From 1996 to 2006, The Crocodile Hunter provided lovers of wildlife one of the most entertaining looks at some of the world’s deadliest creatures. Hosted by Steve Irwin, The Crocodile Hunter quickly became a worldwide phenomenon, thanks to its entertaining segments and Steve Irwin’s love and passion for wildlife preservation. Irwin had an undeniable energy and charisma that was infectious to viewers at home watching the show, and the success of The Crocodile Hunter helped make Steve Irwin a household name. The success of his series brought along other opportunities that saw Irwin slowly expand his brand into a bona fide empire. His work had a large impact on the world, and while filming on location, tragedy would strike when people least expected it.
Irwin tragically lost his life while filming some quick shots with a stingray. The animal was expected to quickly swim away when it began its fatal assault on Irwin. The news of Irwin’s death left people around the world reeling, and the outpouring of love and support for his family was amazing to see.
Although there have been plenty of details that have surfaced over the years regarding Steve Irwin’s death, the 15 facts that we tracked down for you today will shed new light on the events that transpired on that fateful day. Steve Irwin was a man that aspired to leave the world a better place than when he found it, and his impact on the wildlife research and preservation community can be felt to this very day.
15 He Was Getting Footage For His Daughter’s Show
Filming on locations brings with it downtime in-between shots, leading performers to find ways to kill time. Steve Irwin was a busy star who had several projects to manage, and when he was on location in Australia, he decided to make the most out of his time. Irwin was on location taking part in the documentary Ocean’s Deadliest when the weather caused a delay in filming. With his downtime, Irwin hopped in the water to get some new footage for his daughter’s series, Bindi the Jungle Girl. Sadly, the decision to get in the water during his downtime wound up costing Steve Irwin his life that day.
The show, Bindi the Jungle Girl, wound up airing 31 episodes over the course of 2 seasons. Her father, Steve, would appear in several episodes in the first season. The show’s second season was released after Irwin’s death, and he can be seen in the footage.
14 The Stingray's Aggressive Actions
One of the more disturbing facts surrounding the death of wildlife expert Steve Irwin was not only the fact that he died doing something that he loved, but the fact that he was killed by an animal in such a brutal fashion. Most people are aware of the fact that Steve Irwin was fatally stabbed by a stingray, but few truly know how much damage the stingray had done before Irwin breathed his final breath. According to Steve Irwin's cameraman, Justin Lyons, Steve Irwin was stabbed “hundreds of times” in a matter of seconds by the stingray.
In Lyons’ interview, he also talks about the stingray's barb which was said to have been removed by Irwin himself shortly before his death. Lyons refutes the claim that this actually happened, which has caused a number of eyebrows to be raised over the years. Unlike a number of other celebrity deaths, there are people who believe that there is a conspiracy theory surrounding the death of Steve Irwin.
13 Some Believe That He Could Have Been Saved
Justin Lyons, Steve Irwin's cameraman who had the unfortunate distinction of filming his death, publicly refuted the claim that Irwin had removed the stingray’s barb from his chest. As we discussed earlier, this is a complete contradiction from initial reports that surfaced after Irwin's death. Dr. Gabe Mirkin, in an interview covered by Radar Online, made the bold claim that Steve Irwin could have in fact survived the fatal stabbing from the stingray. In his assertion, Dr. Mirkin claims that Steve’s decision to remove the barb from his chest is what caused him to lose his life.
Regardless of who is right regarding Steve Irwin and the barb that was lodged in his chest, the world lost a pop culture icon on that fateful day. A wife had lost her husband, and two children lost their father. It has now been 11 years since Steve Irwin lost his life—an event that sent shockwaves that could be felt around the world.
12 He Was Allegedly Under The Influence
Dealing with wildlife requires an incredible amount of patience and concentration, and people who choose to embark on a career that puts them face-to-face with danger on a constant basis need to make sure that they are sharp between the ears. We saw on countless occasions that Steve Irwin was able to defy death regularly on his series. Although, even he was subject to being bitten by a number of different creatures. Because of the dangerous work that he took part in, one might assume that Irwin wouldn’t be foolish enough to attempt his job while under the influence, but a source claims that this was not the case on the day he died.
A source has said that Steve Irwin was under the influence of mushrooms while he was filming his segment with the stingray. Given his time of consumption, Irwin would have been under the influence by the time he got in the water. We sincerely hope that this was not the case.
11 His Last Words
Imagine being on a location with your friends to shoot a scene for your TV show. It's a seemingly normal day for everyone on the crew, and in order to kill some down time, your friend hops in the water to get a couple good shots. After being violently attacked by a stingray, you help your friend out of the water and try and call for help in an attempt to save his life. This was the horror that cameraman Justin Lyons, faced while he was attempting to save Steve Irwin's life. He tried to give him encouragement, telling Steve to think about his kids and his family while he was fighting for his life. It was during this exchange that Steve Irwin would alter his final words to Justin Lyons.
According to Lyons, Steve Irwin looked up at him and said, "I'm dying." These two chilling words will echo in Lyons' mind for the rest of his life. Losing a friend or a loved one is never easy to deal with, and few of us will ever have to hold them in our arms while they take their final breath.
10 His Toxinologist Blamed Himself For Years
After Steve Irwin was pulled from the water following what would become a fatal attack, experts on the scene did their best to save his life. With the damage that the stingray had done in the short amount of time that it attacked him, it was next to impossible to save Irwin's life. The toxinologist that was on the scene, Dr. Jamie Seymour, was an advisor for Irwin who has dealt with a decade's worth of regret after failing to save Irwin's life. In an interview that was given with the Herald Sun, Seymour spoke candidly about the guilt he felt following the death of Steve Irwin.
Dr. Jamie Seymour mentions that the guilt he felt following the death of Steve Irwin had a negative impact on his life, and he spent months shedding tears over the incident. Despite wanting to quit his job, Dr. Seymour used Steve Irwin's memory as a source of inspiration, and he has since continued to work diligently in his field. When it comes to overcoming grief, time may be the most effective remedy.
9 Frustrations On Local Wildlife In Australia
The death of a major fixture in pop culture can cause fans to resort to drastic measures in an attempt to vent their frustrations out. People have a tendency to become completely enamored with celebrities, and going down this road can lead people to doing some truly dark things. We have seen in the past that the death of a celebrity can cause fans to take their own life in an attempt to deal with their grief. While there are no known suicides that are linked to the tragic death of Steve Irwin, there have been reports of humans taking out their frustrations on the local wildlife in Australia.
Shortly after the death of Steve Irwin, it was reported that locals were taking out their anger on the animal that took his life. At one point in 2006, there were 10 separate incidents that revolved around stingray mutilation. Some of the dead stingrays that were found had their tails cut off, giving onlookers something truly horrific to look at.
8 The Footage Will Never See A Public Release
The rise of the internet has brought with it the ability to find and track down just about any possible thing you can think of. It has become a breeding ground for the uploading and distribution of the deranged, and there have been websites dedicated to bringing its viewers clips of horrifying deaths that find their way onto the internet. Shortly after the death of Steve Irwin, the internet became littered with people who were on the hunt to see the footage of Irwin being attacked by the stingray. Fortunately, the clip of Steve Irwin being attacked was nowhere to be found, and from what has been said in interviews, it will never see the light of day again.
It is speculated that all footage of the incident has been destroyed in hopes of preventing it from ever becoming available to the public. Steve Irwin's wife is rumored to have the one and only copy in existence, although this could be a fallacy given the nature of the content on the tape.
7 The Interview
We have spoken at great lengths about the interview that Justin Lyons gave after the death of Steve Irwin, and we did so for good reason. Lyons' interview provided a firsthand account of the tragic events that unfolded in Queensland that day, and it helped make the situation as a whole seem a lot more tangible. Unfortunately for Lyons, not everyone was thankful for the interview that he gave, and he managed to upset a lot of people in the process. While some were understanding that this interview could have been a very therapeutic thing for Lyons, others felt that he should have stopped himself from detailing his account publicly.
Needless to say, the reaction from Justin Lyons' interview has been polarizing, and when the interview was first released, it made its way around the internet in a spectacular fashion. If you have never watched the clips from the interview, we highly recommend that you go and do so.
6 He Was Planning On Having A Third Child
Towards the latter part of his career, it was not uncommon to see Steve Irwin and his entire family on his various projects. The family as a whole shared an immense love of wildlife preservation, and seeing them all together doing what they loved was truly incredible for viewers. The children, comprised of one boy and one girl, have continued to do work on their father's name. Steve Irwin's son's recent appearance on late night television went viral due to Robert looking and sounding just like his father. The family truly seemed to have it all, although few knew that Steve and his wife had plans that never came to fruition.
Terri Irwin revealed in an interview that she and her husband, Steve, were planning on having a third child to add to their family unit. This dream of having another child would sadly go unrealized, although Bindi and Robert have both provided their mother with plenty of joy throughout the years.
5 Croc One
For those of you looking to see an integral part of Steve Irwin's life and career, heading over to the Australia Zoo is the perfect place to start. Steve Irwin and his family have spent countless years helping and working with the Australia Zoo, and the impact that they have had on their community can be felt to this very day. Among the various things that fans want to go see, the small vessel Croc One is usually towards the top of the list. Croc One was a ship that was designed by Steve Irwin, and it was used while he was out filming and conducting his research.
Not only was Croc One instrumental in helping Irwin and his crew at getting their job done, but it was also the vessel in which Irwin was traveling on before being killed by a stingray. Since his tragic death, the ship has had plenty of maintenance done to it, and it is still utilized for research purposes to this very day, preserving the work and the legacy of Steve Irwin.
4 The MY Steve Irwin
If a celebrity has an impact that's large enough, memorials around the world are bound to arise. We have seen a number of murals and other types of memorials erected by fans, but it is not often that we see a person have a ship named after him/her. In the Netherlands, the MY Steve Irwin is a ship that received its name in 2007. The ship is currently the flagship of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, and we can't imagine a scenario where a more appropriately named ship would bear Irwin's name. Because Irwin was so active in preserving wildlife, it is great to see that the ship bearing his name is used for anti-whaling and preventing illegal fishing practices.
The ship originally began its operation back in the 1970's, and it has had a very lengthy run of things. Though the ship was the MV Robert Hunter starting in 2006, it would take Steve Irwin's name the following year after his death.
3 The Letter To His Parents
After a loved one passes, they will continue to pop up in your thoughts for years on end, and you will occasionally find things that were either theirs or that remind you of them. These little tokens can invoke some serious emotions in people regardless of how long their loved one has been out of their life. Nearly a decade after the passing of their son, Steve Irwin's parents discovered a letter that he penned for them when he was a much younger man. The contents of the letter were disclosed to the media by his parents, and Irwin wrote some truly touching words for the two people who raised him.
In the letter, Irwin thanked his parents for the work that they put into raising him. He also thanks them for how they have had a direct impact on his happiness. It's important to reflect on the people who made a serious impact on your life, and this letter that Irwin wrote his parents is one of the sweetest things you'll ever read.
2 An Asteroid Was Named In His Honor
As we mentioned earlier, seeing pop culture icons receive memorials in their honor is commonplace, and while Steve Irwin getting a ship named after him was impressive enough, this intergalactic memorial might be one of the coolest celebrity tributes there has ever been. 57567 Crikey is the name of the main belt asteroid that received its namesake from Steve Irwin. Yes, there is an asteroid in outer space that is named after the Crocodile Hunter. As fans of the show are aware, "Crikey!" is Steve Irwin's catch phrase, and it was used to name the asteroid that pays tribute to him.
Unlike tributes that pop up after the death of a celebrity, the 57567 Crikey asteroid was actually named back in 2001 while Steve Irwin was a red-hot commodity. Just one year after Steve Irwin had an asteroid named after him, his film, The Crocodile Hunter: Collision Course, hit theaters around the world. The film proved to be a modest success at the box office, and it was a quick cash-in for Steve Irwin who was quickly becoming one of the more recognizable faces on television.
1 The Push To Have Him On Currency
In countries around the world, those who have made a significant impact on their country will often be featured on currency. These people don't necessarily have to be in the realm of politics, although it is rare to see a celebrity face a dollar bill. In 2016, a legitimate petition was started to get Steve Irwin's face on the Australian $100 bill. At the time, there were over 23,000 signatures in favor of having Irwin's face on Australian currency. Irwin had already appeared on an Australian coin before, but this was a limited coin release that paid tribute to inspirational Australians.
Even though Steve Irwin did not end up on the $100 bill, the fact that he had over 23,000 people behind him just goes to show you the type of impact that he has had on the world. Although he may never be attached to Australian currency on a consistent basis, it is not too outlandish to think that he could pop up on gold coins again in the future.
Sources: Thesun, Radaronline, Telegraph, NYdailynews, Eonline, Crocone, Time, Theguardian