steve irwin

This past Sunday marked ten years since the shocking death of Crocodile Hunter star Steve Irwin, and as you can imagine, the conservationist's family has been particularly open about how the loss still hurts. Amazingly enough, his father Bob recently uncovered a handwritten letter Irwin had penned to his parents around two years before he died, though he never actually sent it to them. And it is worth finding some tissues before reading, because it's a heartbreaker.

Dear Dad & Mum,

Probably one of the most unfortunate things in a 'Bloke's Life' is that it takes over 30 years to realize how essential you have been to build my character, my ethics and, most importantly, my 'HAPPINESS.'

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

If I would have been reading that long-lost letter in public, people would have felt it necessary to see if I needed help removing myself from a crumpled heap on the floor. It's impossible for anyone to truly understand what would have been going on inside the minds of Bob and Lyn Irwin as they read these words written by their son 12 years ago, but I can only imagine it was a combination of renewed devastation and unabashed pride. Parents only ever want the best for their children - in the most positive scenarios, anyway - and though it may have taken a long time to have Irwin's thoughts been by their eyes, the joy imbued in this note must have been a sweet relief in some way.

Of course, it's entirely possible that Steve Irwin hadn't sent this letter to his parents because he decided to prove his appreciation for them in a completely different and more vocal way. I like to think the wildlife expert would have been brilliant at delivering singing telegrams.

Bob Irwin found the letter after it fell out of a book he was looking through while researching his upcoming memoir The Last Crocodile Hunter: A Father and Son Legacy, which is set to be released in October. (The book was co-written with Amanda French as the two took a 20,000 km journey all around Australia.) Even the envelope had a message, according to News.com.au, which said "Please be happy to know that your strength and wisdom have been passed on." It's almost like he wanted them to find it after his death.

On September 4, 2006, Steve Irwin was filming for the documentary Ocean's Deadliest at Batt Reef when a stingray suddenly started stabbing Irwin in the chest with its barb, piercing his heart. He was pronounced dead on the scene, having bled out. The shocking tragedy affected fans across the globe, and his legacy has absolutely lived on through the life and successes of his daughter Bindi Irwin - former champion of Dancing with the Stars, where she honored her father accordingly - and son Robert.

Let's all go out and pick up a book we haven't looked through before. Perhaps it will contain some heartbreaking call to our past,

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