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September 04, 2006

A Matter of "When" Not "If"

Steve "Crocodile Hunter" Irwin dead by animal mishap.

As noted, not exactly surprising. Still very sad.

Posted by john at September 4, 2006 01:59 AM

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A.R.Yngve | September 4, 2006 05:35 AM

I used to think that it was going to be a provoked crocodile that finally did him in.

Brent | September 4, 2006 06:23 AM

Sorry to read this; however, I can't say that if I no longer hear his nasally Aussie ejaculations uttered on the TV--my children are big fans--I'll be all that sad. Annoying program.

BIll Marcy | September 4, 2006 07:14 AM


marrije | September 4, 2006 07:28 AM

I actually am surprised he died this way: he seemed to have this special glossy water-off-a-duck veneer that allowed him to come through any danger unscathed. Or not dead, at least.

I rather liked the bugger, even if he was annoying and hyper, and my youngest child loved him and his crazy crocs.

Wickedpinto | September 4, 2006 08:11 AM

The love of my life(who I have been seperated from for about 9 years, and have accepted the fact that we are impossible) is an Aboriginal Australian, she e-mailed me within minutes of the initial reports. She admited that she expected it, but she was also surprised, and somewhat depressed.

though Irwin was an extreme example, he was an example, and he was also PRETTY DAMN SMART! We were talking about it a minute ago, and clearly she is upset, cuz she got pissed at me most ric and tic.

Steve, was a lunatic adventurer type, but he was distinctly australian, he was clearly brilliant, and he was the PERFECT showman to highlight the bio-divinity of Australia. I've been to australia, and only intereacted with the cute fauna, and a couple of the deadly ones, but life death, cute, or deadly, it's an AMAZING experience, as long as you TRAVEL Australia. Brisbane, sydney, and melboure are boring. Steve showed the parts of AU that ROCK!

Some might mock Steves actions, but I promise you there is NOONE! who commands the recognition or respect that Steve Irwin does. (note his wife was raised in California, I think) Australia is EXTRAORDINARILY frontierish in their attitudes and steve represented that well.

He was (in US terms) a "Western Hick" only with a harvard education. I praise steve, even though he was flogging INSANE! in his schtick.

Karen Miller | September 4, 2006 09:03 AM

Like most of Australia, tonight I'm in shock and mourning for one of our truly great original productions.

He was in your face, he was loud, he was boisterous, he was often crazy and never tame. He loved his family, he loved Australia, he loved the world's wildlife so much, so deeply. His death is a tragedy for his wife and children, it's a great loss for us in Australia and for the millions around the world who he touched with his unique personality.

Crikey mate, we're going to miss you.

Chang | September 4, 2006 10:06 AM

Not surprising, but still sad. Hey, the man went out doing something he loved. How else would you want to die?

I always enjoyed the show and it made me appreciate the Earth in all her natural glory even more. he was more informative than obnoxious, though. While he can never be replaced, I hope someone will be able to carry the torch for conservation and wildlife the world over.

This is going to be a hrd one to break to my daughter. She loves his show.

Bye-bye, Mate.

Laurie Mann | September 4, 2006 10:21 AM

What everyone said (except for the person who really didn't like him). I don't like animal shows and sometimes watched him anyway because he was so amusing.

It's quite ironic how he died. Dozens of people are killed by crocs/alligators every year. A few die from shark attacks. No one had died from a stingray attack in Australia since 1945. If he hadn't been hit right in the chest, he might have survived. And what a great story that would have been for him to tell!

Justine Larbalestier | September 4, 2006 10:52 AM

Wickedpinto said:

Australia is EXTRAORDINARILY frontierish in their attitudes and steve represented that well.

Excuse me? Australia is the most urbanised country in the world. With more than 90% of the population living in cities and the vast majority of them having not the faintest clue how to survive out bush. The very opposite of "frontierish".

Steve Irwin was incredibly unusual. There are very few people like him in the world, let alone Australia.

One of the things I found most impressive about him was the way he used his money to buy up land to turn into wildlife sanctuaries. He totally put his money where his mouth is.

Anne C. | September 4, 2006 11:10 AM


I believe Wickedpinto said "EXTRAORDINARILY frontierish in their attitudes." Emphasis on the last word.
I'm not Aussie myself, but my brother went there to get away from the States. I'd say it's a good description. He's not a typical Aussie though. He and his best mate did a road trip through the center of Oz and had many boisterous tales to tell of it.
I leave it to the Aussies to confirm or deny the "frontierish" label, but in my opinion, it describes the *attitudes* of the ones I know (even the transplanted one).

emeraldcite | September 4, 2006 11:28 AM

Sad way to go. An animal pierced his heart. Whether you liked him or not, his passing is a great loss.

Annalee Flower Horne | September 4, 2006 11:46 AM

His eight-year-old daughter was on location with him when this happened, according to the article I read. Can you imagine?

I feel so bad for her and her family.

Justine Larbalestier | September 4, 2006 11:51 AM

Anne C.:

I leave it to the Aussies to confirm or deny the "frontierish" label, but in my opinion, it describes the *attitudes* of the ones I know (even the transplanted one).

I am Australian and have lived there for the vast majority of my life. It does not describe the attitudes of any Australian I have ever met.

Steve Brady | September 4, 2006 11:55 AM

I always figured he'd go on too long, after his reflexes couldn't keep up with his spirit. But this sounds like just a freak accident, so I'm having trouble working up the "how appropriate" feeling.

Then again, if he'd been hit by a bus or something, that would truly be tragic.

We Steves are a poorer bunch, now.

Patrick Nielsen Hayden | September 4, 2006 11:57 AM

Believing that Australians are "extraordinarily frontierish" is much like believing that upper-class Victorians were much like Scottish lairds since their Queen had a big sentimental fixation on Walter Scott's romantic images of Scottishness.

Or like believing that 1950s Americans were all rough-hewn cowboys because they watched Gunsmoke and a lot of John Wayne movies.

The things a culture sentimentalizes are often the things they don't really have any more. As Justine points out, Australia is about as urbanized as Singapore.

John Scalzi | September 4, 2006 11:59 AM


"Or like believing that 1950s Americans were all rough-hewn cowboys because they watched Gunsmoke and a lot of John Wayne movies."

Damn, and me with my leather chaps and all.

Justine Larbalestier | September 4, 2006 12:25 PM

PHN: Thank you, that's it, exactly.

John Scalzi: Damn, and me with my leather chaps and all.


Lisa | September 4, 2006 12:31 PM

Aaaw. He drove me nuts. My SO can do a hilarious imitation of him though.

He was a character that I thought my boys would like when they got older, though. I'm sad that they won't get to see him now, except in re-runs I guess.

If he was done in by taunting a croc, I guess I would have that "not if, but when" feeling, but it does sound like a freak accident, which is sad. Couldn't maybe have happened to anybody, but perhaps anybody who was diving amongst stingrays??

Chang | September 4, 2006 01:01 PM

OH, damn now I got the chaps image in my head. Fudge.

I'm gonna have to read the obit again to get back on track.


Lars | September 4, 2006 01:19 PM

Any way you slice it, it's the death of a real showman.

James Goodman | September 4, 2006 01:36 PM

That is sad news. He was definately entertaining.

CaseyL | September 4, 2006 02:30 PM

I was shocked to hear the news, and saddened. He was an original, and we just don't get too many of those anymore, esp. in TV Land.

My sympathy to his family (does anyone know if there's a site to express condolences?), and I hope they continue his work.

PixelFish | September 4, 2006 02:45 PM

I was super bummed to see the news this morning. I am not a TV watcher, but I do remember Steve showing up on So Graham Norton once, and wrestling Graham's flunkies in a wading pool. It was hilarious, and he was very funny.

I like that he tried to show off a wide bio-diversity. His efforts at conservation are much appreciated. (My father was a herpetologist for about fifteen years....so my family gets a kick out of people who educate about wild animals.)

mythago | September 4, 2006 02:49 PM

Damn, and me with my leather chaps and all.

That's not frontierish, darling. That's San Francisco-ish.

John Scalzi | September 4, 2006 02:51 PM

San Francisco is a frontier, of sorts.

Jez | September 4, 2006 03:19 PM

My mum had predicted for years that he'd die slipping on some soap in the shower. If you ask me, I think he'd much rather die this way than death by soap.

But it's still really sad, I loved watching him and his crazy antics.

Annalee Flower Horne | September 4, 2006 04:49 PM

hey, 'frisco's a fashion frontier... that kind of counts.

(When I was there last, there were Utilikilts all over Castro street. It was the first time I saw them anywhere other than a con).

Anne C. | September 4, 2006 06:08 PM

"I am Australian and have lived there for the vast majority of my life. It does not describe the attitudes of any Australian I have ever met."

Thanks for letting me know that, Justine.

I understand your disagreement, since no one likes to be generalized about. The few Aussies I've met are extremely individualistic and proud to be out of the mainstream, which is what I thought of when I heard "frontier attitude." If this does not describe you or those you know, naturally you would object.

Mia | September 4, 2006 06:22 PM

There's a link up at the Animal Planet web site to express condolences to his family.

John H | September 4, 2006 07:59 PM

PNH: Or like believing that 1950s Americans were all rough-hewn cowboys because they watched Gunsmoke and a lot of John Wayne movies.

I'd say our current president does nothing to disabuse anyone of that belief.

But anyway, I agree with the sentiment that this seems like a freak accident. I always wondered what the sting in stingray meant - I suppose this explains it. So sad for Steve Irwin and his family, let alone his legion of fans around the world.

mythago | September 4, 2006 08:02 PM

Annalee, Utilikilts are what the would-rather-be-in-the-Castro boys down in Silicon Valley wear, if they're at tech companies with inclusive dress codes. Last I heard, anything cowboy was very big in SF. That was over ten minutes ago, though, so I could well be passing on stale information.

CaseyL | September 4, 2006 08:09 PM

Thanks, Mia.

Buck | September 4, 2006 11:34 PM

I spent several years traveling throughout the US with 'exotic' animals- large boas or pythons, parrots, alligators, etc. , but nothing like what the Croc Hunter did for TV. Although I always thought he pushed the edge, 'Crikey,' it sucks that Nature finally pushed back farther than Steve could receive.

I think a very good point was made: if he had died getting hit by a bus while crossing the street, that would have been a tragedy. The fact that he died doing what he loved, and trying to educate others, well, that's not too bad.

Somewhere right now, he's in Dreamtime, with the spirits of the crocs, snakes, and all the other Australian animals that he brought into our homes.

The man lived more in 44 years than most of us would squeeze out of 120. Huzzah Steve Irwin! Good on you, mate!

Brian Greenberg | September 5, 2006 12:13 AM

From what I've read, it really was a freak accident, not a run in with a dangerous animal gone bad. Stingrays' poisonous barbs usually cause discomfort or some degree of sickness, but are usually very, very curable. He was just unlucky enough that the thing went under his ribcage & directly into his heart. It's almost as random as being hit by a bus.

But, as has been said above, at least he was doing what he loved when he died...

Anna Feruglio Dal Dan | September 5, 2006 07:42 AM

But, but, you're supposed to die doing what you love at 80!

I'll miss him, but yeah, I think he went out as he would have wanted - by an accident. If he really had been snapped up by a croc, think of all the people who would have come out of the woodwork saying "I Told you so." He wasn't as mad as he seemed.

Johnny Carruthers | September 5, 2006 12:38 PM

If it had been anyone else who died this way, I have the feeling that we would have been seeing Steve on the news reports saying something like, "Leave this to the pros."

Mary | September 5, 2006 02:59 PM

According to recent reports, he wasn't chasing or harassing the stingray: he was just filming coral. He didn't see the stingray until too late. His death had little do to with anything truly dangerous he'd ever done, but was just truly bad luck.

Maybe the entire population of Oz should just stay out of the ocean. And off the land. (What was that bit by Pratchett on all the dangerous fauna of his fictional version of Australia?)

Josh | September 5, 2006 03:17 PM

Australia is the most urbanised country in the world. With more than 90% of the population living...

I would have assumed Japan would have taken this title. Am I incorrect?

I was never a huge fan of his show, I always thought it a little over the top, but I absolutely admired his dedication and work towards conservation. The world needs people with that sort of commitment and capacity to help the natural world.

Kelsey | September 5, 2006 04:55 PM

Between working as a SCUBA instructor and diving on my own, I've been around stingrays 100's of times. Once on the beach I had a student get hit on the ankle. He cried. Snot came out of every openining in his head. He was 14. That is the only negative experience I've had with the creature.

I never knew that an attack from a stingray could be lethal. I googled 'stingray attack' and did find another account of a fella in Australia killed after taking a shot to the chest. Truely freaky. Why is it that Australian wild life always seem to be a bit more pissed off and more capable of doing something about it?

The USA Today had a quote from Jack Hanna that sums it up best, "It's like me getting killed by a poodle."

Smurf | September 5, 2006 06:49 PM

Does this rank above or below the tiger mauling the Siegfried and Roy guy on the Animal Murder You Can Sort Of Laugh At Because The Guy Poked The Cage With The Stick Too Much scale.

I'm working on a scale with a shorter name, but you get the general idea.

The Implausible Michael Crichton | September 5, 2006 11:07 PM

"Somewhere right now, he's in Dreamtime, with the spirits of the crocs, snakes, and all the other Australian animals that he brought into our homes."

No, he's poking Devils with a stick and having the time of his afterlife. Here's hoping he doesn't take too long to reincarnate!

Anonymous | September 11, 2006 01:45 PM

Natural. Selection.

Nathan | September 13, 2006 10:34 AM



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