Sadly, Irwin—who dedicated his life to the preservation and appreciation of wildlife—lost his life at the age of 44 on Sept. 4, 2006, after being fatally pierced in the chest by a stingray barb during the filming of an underwater documentary.
News of Irwin’s tragic death shocked the world.
A decade later in 2016, to mark the 10th anniversary of Irwin’s passing, his dad, Bob Irwin, released a touching letter written by the popular TV personality and passionate conservationist.
Bob found the letter, which had fallen out from a book, while researching Steve’s memoir.
The letter, penned by Irwin when he was 32, reads: “Dear Dad + Mum, Probably one of the most unfortunate things in a ‘Bloke’s Life’ is that it takes over 30 years to realise how essential you have been to build my character, my ethics and, most importantly, my HAPPINESS.”
We’re proud to be publishing Bob Irwin’s autobiography The Last Crocodile Hunter in November, which opens with this…
Irwin expressed gratitude to his parents and wrote: “At 32, I am finally starting to figure it out. In good times and in bad, you were there. Your strength and endurance to raise me will not go unrewarded. My love for you is my strength!”
“For the rest of my life I will reflect on the unbelievably GREAT times we’ve shared and will continue to share. You’re my best friends! Thank you. Steve.”
Irwin’s parent’s, Bob and Lyn, were also wildlife enthusiasts who brought up their children in their own reptile park on Australia’s Sunshine Coast.
On the envelope containing the letter, Irwin wrote: “Please be happy to know that your strength and wisdom have been passed on.”
I am utterly devastated that legislation has been passed to take 5,000 vulnerable crocodile eggs from the wild every…
The poignant letter was eventually published in Bob’s memoir “The Last Crocodile Hunter: A Father and Son Legacy.”
“Working on this book, I have been constantly reminded of Steve’s boundless energy, infectious humor and unrestrained passion for wildlife in our far too short a time together,” Bob told news.com.au.
“I hope that sharing these stories can be a pertinent reminder of the enormity of his legacy, a legacy that has not only taught us the importance of reconnecting with our environment but to be passionate in doing so,” Bob added.
On Feb. 22—Irwin’s would-be 57th birthday—Goggle paid tribute to his legacy with an animated slideshow-Doodle that shows the beloved conversationalist feeding crocodiles, traveling on a boat with his dog, and hanging out with his children and wife.
The date also marked 13 years since Irwin had passed away.
Irwin’s widow, Terri, extended her thanks to Google for the tribute in a tweet. She wrote: “Many thanks to @Google for commemorating Steve’s life so beautifully on this special day.”
Steve Irwin's mission of conservation will always live on with his family. This Google Doodle reminds us of that. Happy birthday, Steve!View the full Doodle and blog post: http://www.google.com/doodles/steve-irwins-57th-birthday#TheIrwins #GoogleDoodle
Posted by Animal Planet on Thursday, 21 February 2019
Irwin’s son, Robert Irwin, also tweeted: “Thank you so much, @Google for honouring dad with his own #GoogleDoodle all over the world.”
“A perfect way to celebrate his birthday, sharing everything he did to make the world a better place.”
Thank you so much, @Google for honouring dad with his own #GoogleDoodle all over the world. A perfect way to celebrate his birthday, sharing everything he did to make the world a better place. pic.twitter.com/MrKdzTqZke
— Robert Irwin (@RobertIrwin) February 21, 2019
Meanwhile, The Crocodile Hunter’s daughter, Bindi Irwin, celebrated her dad’s birthday with a bittersweet message on Instagram.
“Happy Birthday to my dad and grandmother. I wish so much that I could give you birthday hugs. You are both in my heart today and I hope you are celebrating together,” Bindi wrote.
View this post on Instagram
“Thank you for always being my guiding light,” Bindi wrote in another post, alongside a photo of Irwin carrying her while she was still a baby.
Bindi was only 8 and Robert was just 3 when Irwin passed away.
View this post on Instagram
Though Irwin had left us, his legacy lives on, as Bindi and Robert, along with their mom, Terri, returned to Animal Planet to host “Crikey! It’s the Irwins” in 2018.
“Dad was amazing because he left this legacy that people will never forget,” Bindi told People in 2017.
“He didn’t just say to love the cute and cuddly animals—he tried to get people to understand and respect the animals like crocodiles and snakes and really break down those barriers. For us, we really want to carry on in dad’s footsteps and make sure that everything he worked so hard for continues on in the future,” Bindi added.
If Steve Irwin knew what his family has been doing to carry on his conservation work, he would be so proud of them!
There are no words to describe how much my little family means to me.I count my blessings one hundred times a day to have their endless love and support in my life.
Watch the video:
We miss you Steve Irwin!Legendary outdoorsman and fearless protector of animals, Steve taught us to see beauty in the face of fear.
Posted by Life Stories on Friday, 22 February 2019