Obituaries

Steve Irwin, R.I.P.

|

As reported off-topic and seemingly everywhere else, crocodile hunter Steve Irwin has been felled at the age of 44 by a barb from a stingray. Australia's favorite "larrikin adventurer" received a puncture in the chest while diving in shallow water yesterday off Port Douglas in north Queensland, apparently after surprising the fish. Irwin's wife and children, familiar to fans of his adventure shows, were not present at the time. According to one account:

"The footage shows him swimming in the water, the ray stopped and turned and that was it," said boatowner Peter West, who viewed the footage afterwards.

"There was no blood in the water, it was not that obvious … something happened with this animal that made it rear and he was at the wrong position at the wrong time and if it hit him anywhere else we would not be talking about a fatality."

The precise cause of death is not yet known, and I'm not sure I could tell the difference between a stingray and a manta ray, though one or the other washed up on the beach when I was a kid and the smell alone could kill you. The ray's 20-centimeter barb could be fatal in a number of ways. Here's a picture of a stingray barb and the wound it caused in the neck of a sea turtle.

Obviously, this death will provide fodder for people who dislike the variety of animals Irwin championed, but it's significant that he wasn't done in by a croc (unless they put the stingray up to it); and it's hard to imagine a more fitting death for the beloved naturalist.

Meanwhile, Jim Fowler is still hanging in there.

And Bill "Mr. Noodle" Irwin is still with us too.

Advertisement

NEXT: Rant: The Night Chicago Died

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. The guy who hunted crocs done in by a ray. What would Ray Kroc think? I think I’m gonna go get a bacon egg mcgriddle and drown my sorrows in trans fat.

  2. Between this and the Siegfried and Roy incident, I’m thinking the animals are fed up with us using them for entertainment.

  3. When do we get to see the footage?

  4. When do we get to see the footage?

  5. My beef isn’t with the kind of animals Irwin went after in his shows–he and I agree that they’re cool animals who shouldn’t be exterminated.

    Where I have a beef with him is the need he had to provoke any animal he came in contact with, even if there was no need to do it for a closeup. Doing so makes the animals seem more dangerous than it is, and it may give people the impression that this is what you do with wild animals, instead of “look, don’t touch.”

    Other people say they got the message of how great the animals are from his show, and I hope that’s the takeaway, but I’ve read of others who have gotten the opposite idea. But if you get up close and fuck with animals, many of them will fuck you up in return.

    All in all, this sounds like more an accident than a result of a provocation, and it sounds like in person he was a great guy. I’m very sorry for his family. But it doesn’t mean I’m going to retroactively bless everything he did.

  6. “I believe that education is all about being excited about something. Seeing passion and enthusiasm helps push an educational message.”

    Steve Irwin, RIP, certainly did not lack enthusiasm.

  7. The show Irwin was filming at the time of his death was called “Ocean’s Deadliest.” You do the math.

  8. Your math is wrong. He was, at the time of his death, working on a bit for children involving coral reefs. The weather forced them to delay the main project.

  9. After all that walking luggage, what a way to go .
    Some of these generally amiable squashed sharks can zap as well as sting , Details of my personal worst encounter at :

    http://adamant.typepad.com/seitz/miscellaneous_territories/index.html

  10. but it’s significant that he wasn’t done in by a croc (unless they put the stingray up to it)

    I swear I’m innocent! I never met that stingray in my life! OK, maybe I saw him at a party once, but it wasn’t like I was on a first name basis with him. Well, alright, sure, I played poker with him a few times too, but that was it!

  11. Between this and the Siegfried and Roy incident, I’m thinking the animals are fed up with us using them for entertainment.”

    You’re an idiot, crimethink.

  12. When discussing his legacy, let’s not forget that he single-handedly got the U.S. hooked on the word “crikey!”

  13. Between this and the Siegfried and Roy incident, I’m thinking the animals are fed up with us using them for entertainment.”

    You’re an idiot, crimethink.

  14. “I’m gonna sneak up behind him, and stick my thumb in its butthole… that’ll really piss ‘im off.”

  15. I always found not only his enthusiasm infectious, but his benevolence as well. The guy had style, and a demonstrated devotion to his family as well as to his life’s passion. I hate that he’s gone.

  16. I could never get through a single viewing of the show, but I enjoyed the heck out of watching him defend himself with the baby incident on the Today Show.

    His manner of speech, on his show, always rubbed me like a scraching chalkboard. It’s hard to put my finger on exactly, but I have a short list of people who speak that way.

    Steve Irwin
    Miss Romper Room
    Mister Rogers
    Huell Howser

    Anyway, he seemd like a pretty groovy guy. I saw a rebroadcast this morning of him defending himself using his baby with that Croc. He didn’t back down a bit. …gotta respect a guy just for that. …and it looks like he talked that way all the time–even when he was pissed off.

  17. Ahhh, heck. My older son and I got through the 9/11 stuff by watching “The Crocodile Hunter.” I was pregnant with our second son, my husband had been told he was going to be laid off, and, of course, there’s the whole al Qaeda thing going on. Animal Planet aired hours of Steve Irwin, and Andy and I watched obsessively. Andy developed a continuing devotion to squids, spiders, and really icky snakes. For that I will always honor Steve Irwin’s name. That, and he seemed like a really nice guy.

  18. Live by the sword and you die by the sword.

    Can anyone honestly say that they didn’t think he’d be killed by one of the animals he was always trying to fuck with?

  19. “Can anyone honestly say that they didn’t think he’d be killed by one of the animals he was always trying to fuck with?”

    Yeah, but a stingray? I always thought a snake would be the most likely cause of death (or that he would semi-retire after a crocodile took a limb off).

  20. That’s really too bad. I never got the “this guy has it coming” vibe from Irwin. He was a trained professional, although Sandy makes a good point about not fucking with wild animals, and he seemed like a genuinely good guy. Plus, I have to respect anybody who can get small children excited about zoology.

  21. “I’m not sure I could tell the difference between a stingray and a manta ray…”

    Simple: Stingrays tend to span about a few feet across. Manta rays are freaking HUGE! Up to 22 feet across.

  22. We’ve no longer got a live one ‘ere. 🙁

    – Josh

  23. Really sad. I wasn’t an avid viewer of his shows but when I did see him on tv he always seemed to be a genuinely good guy who was very passionate about his work and his family. Someone with that that much exuberance and so much to live for shouldn’t have been taken so young.

    Even though he did put himself in danger on a regular basis this was a freak accident that doesn’t seem to have much to do with his actions except that he was just swimming in exactly the wrong spot at the wrong time. A few inches difference and he’d just be nursing a painful wound right now. People swim with stingrays all the time without any issues. I’ve pet them myself at aquariums.

    What a weird way to go. At least by all acounts it was quick.

  24. “I have to respect anybody who can get small children excited about zoology.:

    Dangling a baby by one arm while chucking chickens at half ton salties with your other certainly seems to work

  25. “Someone with that that much exuberance and so much to live for shouldn’t have been taken so young.”
    Then why was he? People who talk like you Pepe are stupid asses.

    Lets not forget that bear guy in Alaska who got eaten by them.
    Thats three attacks.
    BTW: in case your wondering, mental telepathy is the way animals communicate with each other.
    So get real people, there on to us.
    That is what happen when you screw beings out of residuals.

  26. I just found a transcript of that fateful segment:

    Steve Irwin: “This li’l fella doesn’t seem to like us bein’ heah…c’mon l’il guy, we’re not goin’ ta hurt ya…oh shit…SHIT…oh shit…glub…glub…crikey…glub…glubb…[unintelligible]”

    Director: “Did you get that shit?!”

    Camer man: “Sure did.”

  27. Farewell to a real original.

    (I was going to ask whether Steve Irwin was hot, but I restrained myself. I’m kind of curious to know what people think, though. Especially female-type people.)

  28. R.I.P.

  29. This proves that there is no God. If there were, he would have taken that douche Jeff Corwin instead.

    I have to see this footage. I loved the guy, but I’ve been waiting for Irwin to fuck with the wrong critter for years. They better not cheat me of my money shot.

  30. “Then why was he? People who talk like you Pepe are stupid asses.”

    Very articulate way to make your point Terry. Of course you don’t have a point. But at least you can call me names like a little child. Your post doesn’t make any sense. “Then why was he?” Are you implying that he SHOULD have died because he was an exuberant person with a lot to live for? I guess you are a much better man than I you comtemptuous fuck. I made the mistake of expressing the human emotion of sympathy for someone I would prefer was still alive. Hopefully there will people around to make snarky comments about you when you are randomly run down by a bus or die in some equally pointless way. Do you have a family that cares about you? Well fuck them too. Let’s all take great joy in the misfortune of others so that we can feel good about how much smarter we are for not being dead….yet.

    I fail to see the logic in your response. The man died in a freak occurrence. People are almost never killed by stingrays. He had to be in an very specific position in relation to the stingray for this to end up the way it did. This wasn’t him sticking his head inside a crocodile’s mouth. He died because he was really unlucky. Just because he frequently puts himself in dangerous situations doesn’t mean that his death in this particular incident was deserved. And if he did contribute to his own demise that doesn’t make it any less sad.

    The guy in Alaska was a completely different situation. Treadwell was not an expert, he was just a guy who chose to go live with bears at a particularly dangerous time of year when the bears were low on food. He treated the bears like people instead of wild animals and he came in close contact with them despite laws and the warnings of park service officials. Steve Irwin was a pro who grew up handling crocs, snakes and other dangerous animals from an early age. He knew the animals were dangerous, and he treated them as such.

    Getting in your car and driving to work is more likely to be life threatening than swimming with stingrays off the Great Barrier Reef most of the time. But when people are killed in car accidents you don’t usually have obnoxious pricks like you implying that they had it coming.

  31. “Someone with that that much exuberance and so much to live for shouldn’t have been taken so young.”

    ‘Then why was he? People who talk like you Pepe are stupid asses.

    Lets not forget that bear guy in Alaska who got eaten by them.
    Thats three attacks.’

    You can’t put Irwin in the same category as Timothy Treadwell, the total nutbar, who was killed by griz in Alaska. Treadwell, had been diagnosed earlier with advanced mental problems, and anyone who has seen the film Grizzly Man I’m sure would agree that his mental delusions were very much apparent – he appeared to be suffering from some combination of severe narcissism, megliomania, and borderline personality disorders. His actions towards the grizzlies went quite a few steps farther than any conservationist’s, who categorically said Treadwell was way out of bounds, and quite a bit further than Irwin as well. Don’t dishonor Irwin by mentioning him in the same breath as that space cadet.

  32. The best we can hope for when our time comes is a death that says something about the way we live. One that truly encapsulates the spirit of us as individuals.

    I think being jabbed in the heart by a manta ray is about as close an approximation to “crikey!” as we are likely to find.

  33. I think being jabbed in the heart by a manta ray

    STINGray!

    (I think Steve Irwin would want us to be clear on the difference.)

  34. Actually, it’s believed Treadwell was killed by a very old bear that had trouble finding enough food so he went after an easy meal.

  35. I finally found some reports with more details of how the accident happened.

    Apparently Irwin was snorkling, and the camera guy got behind the ray to film Irwin swiming over the ray from front to back (toward the camera). It must have been in shallow water with some obstruction, because apparently the ray felt trapped, and then do what rays only do when they feel they’re unable to escape, rather than fight: lanced out with its barb at the nearest target, which happened to be Irwin’s chest.

    Irwin lived long enough to pull the barb out, but was dead almost immediately after, possibly due to the barb lancing his heart.

    While boxing a ray in is a no-no, it’s still kind of a freak occurance. The slightest change in conditions might have meant it would have taken off rather than attack. People snorkle over rays all the time without getting lanced.

    While I think Irwin was too gonzo with some animals, particularly snakes, he was in no way as irresponsible as the grizzly guy. Not even in the same league. He knew the dangers, but came to a different conclusion than I about the risks versus the educational benefits. The grizzly guy was just an idiot.

    What I hope everybody takes away from this is that animals aren’t something to be irrationally afraid of and reflexively attacked, but something to be appreciated, even watched–from a safe distance.

  36. What I don’t get is all the morbid fascination with “the tape”. What the fuck is up with that? A man is dead and all people care about is seeing the clip. Fucking sick.

    I think the whole situation is very sad. Pondering whether he “had it coming” is useless.

  37. What I don’t get is all the morbid fascination with “the tape”. What the fuck is up with that? A man is dead and all people care about is seeing the clip. Fucking sick.

    What can I say? I’m a sick fuck. But, most of his allure came from the fact that at any moment he could get his throat ripped out by whatever creature he was annoying for our amusement. That was the dramatic tension. It’s like NASCAR. Anyone that claims they don’t watch for wrecks is at least somewhat in denial.

  38. Come to think of it, that’s right. If they were never going to show his demise, where’s the suspense?

  39. Legislation banning all sea animals is clearly in order. Think of the children!

  40. it is a great loss for around the world because steve was my hero and a lot of other peoples hero as well.He helped many countries and animals but a least he went doing the thing he loved the most,seeing the animals. Rest in peace steve and God bless you!

  41. What I don’t get is all the morbid fascination with “the tape” . . . A man is dead and all people care about is seeing the clip.

    Wait – has it been reduced to tape or a clip aleady? Have you seen it? Is it posted somewhere? Can you post a link? Good god, man, quit holding out on us!

  42. Irwin, to his great credit had a sense of humor about himself. He will be missed. As far as the Grizzly Guy is concerned, the phrase “thinning the herd” springs to mind…

  43. I cannot believe that anyone one would be so heartless and judgemental to comment on the death of a fellow human being.
    He spent his life educating people on our worlds wildlife and had so much passion and dedication for the wellbeing of animals and protecting endagered species.
    I hope that all you uncaring people out there never have to explain to your families why anyone would ever advocate your death. I also hope that you all get through your working day safely and without any harm.
    Each and every one of us has a job to – What makes your job any more important than Steve Irwins – maybe you’re just not as passionate about yours!!! It certainly doesn’t make his life any less important or precious than yours.

    I would like to pay my deepest respect and heartfelt sympathy to his young family and friends, and will always be grateful for his enthusiasm and dedication to conservation and his unflinching love for creatures great and small.
    Thank you Steve
    God bless you and your family
    Wendy
    (South Wales UK)

  44. I cant beleve someone actually posted this comment!!!!

    ….

    I just found a transcript of that fateful segment:

    Steve Irwin: “This li’l fella doesn’t seem to like us bein’ heah…c’mon l’il guy, we’re not goin’ ta hurt ya…oh shit…SHIT…oh shit…glub…glub…crikey…glub…glubb…[unintelligible]”

    Director: “Did you get that shit?!”

    Camer man: “Sure did.”

    ….

    omg huever sed that is sick … how can u joke about the death of someone!!

  45. This man has died, it doesnt matter how. Have some repect for his family, his wife and those two poor children.

  46. Hell of a comment, Wendy. But, um, who “advocated his death”(whatever that means)? Who said his or her job was more important than Irwin’s? Who said his or her life was more precious than Irwin’s?

    Jebus, whenever someone dies, some people just checks their brains at the door. Nobody (sane) wants people to die, but when it happens, that person’s prior sins (or idiotic acts) are not wiped clean.

  47. Um, that should be “check,” not “checks,” of course. Sigh. I do that sort of thing all the time.

  48. i like bananas….

  49. the sad thing is, if he had left the barb alone and gotten to the hospital, he could have quite possibly survived. chances are it lanced his heart and when he pulled it out he just let the blood flow out. one thing first aid courses say is if you are stabbed in the heart, to leave the item alone and DONT pull it out.

    that being said, i dont know if i would remeber that tidbit of info if i had something hanging outta my chest.

    and although the guy really bugged me, i wouldnt post half the rubbish a lot of you have. geez, get some decency as human beings and keep stupid degrading comments to yourself.

  50. Steve Irwin was a god and his footage should be shown even if it is graphic

  51. FUK YOUR MOTHER BIOTCHES STEVE IRWIN CAN SUCK MY HARD DIC LONG

  52. Your’e a dickhead Chuck

  53. R.I.P steve ( the netherlands )

  54. Some of the comments on here are truly sick, have you people no compassion? Steve Irwin was a great guy and yes he did put himself in a lot of dangerous situations but that was his job and i couldn’t think of a more fitting way for his life to end……..doing the job he loved.
    His family have suffered a great loss and i think we should show a bit more sensitivity.
    R.I.P Steve

  55. support the irwin family
    sign the guestbook at

    http://www.remembersteve.com

  56. support the irwin family
    sign the guestbook at

    http://www.remembersteve.com

  57. i was a big fan of Steve Irwin and i would like to know the website address for the virtual scene and when they are going to show the footage of him and how far he got. i am sorry to all the people who read this message and think i am heartless but i think he knew that if he pulled the tail out would kill him so i think he did it on purpose. because it hurts more coming out than it does going in. if anibody wants to give me abuse my email address is icebaby99888@hotmail.co.uk

  58. The guy was cool and had a cool life. He achieved more than I reckon most of the people who have said insensitive things on this board have. I think I can be sure of that or else you would have better things to do than be here. This is the first MB I’ve been on in a few years I think and I came across it by accident.

    Really, those of you who are sickened by these nerds who write negative ‘radiohead-esq’ shit, remember that karma comes back and they’re obviously students or worse teenagers who haven’t yet grasped their own mortality or yet the very concept of life and death. But it is certain that they will and they may just recieve some unwanted insensitive remarks that they do not see as ‘jokes’.

    The guy was cool. No one would give much thought if he had have died in a fatal car crash. I think it’s best that all of his fans or people who just laugh at other’s misfortunes shouldn’t get carried away with the media and his death. He wasn’t how he died. His shows and work will remain and continue and they too are cool.

    Well done to him for making something of his life! Farewell & Goodnight.

  59. The guy was cool and had a cool life. He achieved more than I reckon most of the people who have said insensitive things on this board have. I think I can be sure of that or else you would have better things to do than be here. This is the first MB I’ve been on in a few years I think and I came across it by accident.

    Really, those of you who are sickened by these nerds who write negative ‘radiohead-esq’ shit, remember that karma comes back and they’re obviously students or worse teenagers who haven’t yet grasped their own mortality or yet the very concept of life and death. But it is certain that they will and they may just recieve some unwanted insensitive remarks that they do not see as ‘jokes’.

    The guy was cool. No one would give much thought if he had have died in a fatal car crash. I think it’s best that all of his fans or people who just laugh at other’s misfortunes shouldn’t get carried away with the media and his death. He wasn’t how he died. His shows and work will remain and continue and they too are cool.

    Well done to him for making something of his life! Farewell & Goodnight.

  60. The guy was cool and had a cool life. He achieved more than I reckon most of the people who have said insensitive things on this board have. I think I can be sure of that or else you would have better things to do than be here. This is the first MB I’ve been on in a few years I think and I came across it by accident.

    Really, those of you who are sickened by these nerds who write negative ‘radiohead-esq’ shit, remember that karma comes back and they’re obviously students or worse teenagers who haven’t yet grasped their own mortality or yet the very concept of life and death. But it is certain that they will and they may just recieve some unwanted insensitive remarks that they do not see as ‘jokes’.

    The guy was cool. No one would give much thought if he had have died in a fatal car crash. I think it’s best that all of his fans or people who just laugh at other’s misfortunes shouldn’t get carried away with the media and his death. He wasn’t how he died. His shows and work will remain and continue and they too are cool.

    Well done to him for making something of his life! Farewell & Goodnight.

  61. ok .. ok.. maybe i only like bananas a little bit…

  62. Come on baby! Let’s see that ray footage! Yummy! Hurray for the stingray! Steve on a ka-bob, sounds like fun! He gets what he deserved! He provoked animals and used his own baby as a cat toy for the croc! Show me the footage! I wanta see this guy get nailed like a $5.00 coffin! I gotta see it! Yummy!

  63. i feel sorry for his widow and his kids who are now without a father. he may have been good at what he did, but I always figgered he’d go sooner or later because of it. at least he leaves a worthwhile legacy behind, it wasn’t all for nothing.

  64. I don’t like bananas

  65. Steve Irwin likes bananas…IN HELL!

  66. i am deeply, deeply disgusted with a number of comments on this site. they are sick and completely inappropriate. they are posted by people who know nothing about the man or his work, and im sure are basing their entire perception of him by what they saw on leno or dr dolittle.

    steve irwin was a great man who cared deeply for animals. he did NOT simply go around provoking animals, making them lash out at him. he worked tirelessly to save the wildlife he cared so deeply about.

    the accident with the stingray was simply that: a freak accident. he did not provoke the ray, as has been confirmed by his manager and the cameraman himself.

    to all those who are so deperate to see the footage of his death, you are sick. how can you possibly get any form of pleasure or entertainment from watching a man with a family die?

    “It’s like NASCAR. Anyone that claims they don’t watch for wrecks is at least somewhat in denial.”

    this is nothing like NASCAR. this is not footage of a car being crumpled into oblivion and a driver being carried off to hospital. this is footage of a man who will never be seen again. it is footage of a family who now has to grow up without a father, husband or son. to compare this to a sport is inhumane and sickening.

    i know that there is no point arguing with most of you, as you are obviously incapable of emotion or rational thought. i will however say that you are sick, twisted individuals who deserve nothing but contempt from all around you.

    next time you think of making a joke about steve irwin, stop. stop and imagine for a moment that you father, mother, son, daughter, brother, sister, husband or wife has died without warning, and you now have to support your family without them.

    you people sicken me.

  67. Sheep Man the Movie awesome trailer on youtube.. for Grizzly Man parody starring Jeff Richards and directed by Ron Eigen.

  68. Please have some human decency! Steve Irwin was what is known all over the world as a conservationist, naturalist, environmentalist etc etc, you pick it. He was dedicated enough to care about bringing these important wildlife and conservation issues into as many homes as he could.
    He did not dangle his baby son, Bob over a croc (to the loser who still believes this!!), there is other footage aside from what you saw on TV-moron. Steve Irwin led a life far different to most of us, and in turn, raised his beautiful children differently. It is very important for his children to be exposed to wildlife in a far closer capacity than we would our own children. How do you think his eight year old daughter, Bindi holds tarantulas and other ‘scary’ wildlife without screaming her little lungs out? Conditioning, and devotion to a cause that is SO worthy!
    ‘Grow up’ to those who believe they have the right to be so crass about his death. The world is a poorer place without him in it, and his wife and beautiful children are now without a loving, devoted husband and father. What is amusing about that?
    I have cried everyday since his death, his children are near the same age as mine, I gave birth to my daughter whilst I was watching Steve on the TV. I looked forward to my children having the opportunity to grow up being more involved in the environment and wildlife, I have only ever bought my daughter one Barbie doll and that was the Zoologist Barbie, with Kharki’s and boots on.

    To the SICKO who wrote this…

    Come on baby! Let’s see that ray footage! Yummy! Hurray for the stingray! Steve on a ka-bob, sounds like fun! He gets what he deserved! He provoked animals and used his own baby as a cat toy for the croc! Show me the footage! I wanta see this guy get nailed like a $5.00 coffin! I gotta see it! Yummy!

    Comment by: Tim at September 7, 2006 01:13 AM

    You are a disgusting creature, I struggle not to wish you got what Steve did instead. You are the death of humanity and should be ashamed of yourself!

    To Terri, Bindi, Bob and his Family (Bob and his Sisters), I am sorry for your loss, if I could wish him back, I would wish my whole life for you. For your beautiful children, I look forward to seeing your father shine in each of you and Terri, Behind every great woman is a great man, your heart will remember his love, I am sorry for all of you.

    My deepest sympathy and respect for you all.
    Queensland Girl

  69. Ausruss and Chantal – Methinks you twp protest too much. C’mon, be honest — you’ve got a copy of the tape, don’t you?

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.