I was watching Steve Irwin before it was cool.
I discovered him by accident, channel surfing. Commercial, commercial, Law & Order, infomercial, holy crap is that guy picking up snakes by the tail?! As I recall, it was a show called, “The Ten Deadliest Snakes in Australia.” He was not a big star at this time, and did not yet have his regular television series. I couldn’t quite believe what I was seeing.
After that I made a point of watching him regularly. As his fame grew his mannerisms became exaggerated to the point of being annoying, and his show was clearly being aimed at a younger audience. Despite this, his enthusiasm was infectous, and he was a useful reminder that someone has to love the ugly and scary animals too. He will be sorely missed.
The New York Times has the basic facts:
Steve Irwin, the hugely popular Australian television personality and conservationist known as the ‘“Crocodile Hunter,”’ was killed Monday by a stingray while filming off the Great Barrier Reef. He was 44.
Irwin was at Batt Reef, off the remote coast of northeastern Queensland state, shooting a segment for a series called ‘“Ocean’s Deadliest”’ when he swam too close to one of the animals, which have a poisonous barb on their tails, his friend and colleague John Stainton said.
”He came on top of the stingray and the stingray’s barb went up and into his chest and put a hole into his heart,” said Stainton, who was on board Irwin’s boat at the time.