Steve Irwin, super-charismatic star of the Animal Planet show The Crocodile Hunter, died 10 years ago this month. He was barbed to death by a giant stingray while filming in Queensland, Australia on September 4, 2016.
If you’re a little young to remember Steve Irwin, he burst on the scene in 1992 with his signature cry of “Crikey!” as he wrassled crocodiles, giant snakes, and whatever else he could find in Australia’s waters and deserts. His cable show was popular with all ages and made Irwin a star.
Then came his shocking death in 2006, when a casual stingray photo op turned deadly:
According to [cameraman Justin Lyons], he and the 44-year-old Irwin were about eight days into filming a series called “Ocean’s Deadliest” when they found themselves in chest-deep water near Queensland, Australia. They came across a “massive” 8-foot-wide stingray. Despite their impressive size, stingrays are normally docile creatures that do not pose a threat.
The cameraman and Irwin shot some footage that they hoped to use for a different project, and were conferring on what they’d gotten so far. The pair decided to go back under water for “one last shot” of Irwin behind the stingray before it swam off into the ocean.
“I thought, ‘This is going to be a great shot,'” Lyons recalled.
Then suddenly, and without warning, the creature attacked.
“It started stabbing wildly with its tail,” Lyons recalled, “hundreds of strikes within a few seconds.”
A chilling scene. Irwin was hit mid-chest and died quickly, even while his crew tried to save his life with CPR.
Irwin’s daughter Bindi Irwin, now 18, posted a touching memorial to Instagram this weekend. Steve Irwin would have turned just 54 this year.
See our full biography of Steve Irwin »