Watching TV at home as a kid, and to this day when I visit my parents, means that TLC, Discovery or PBS will most likely be on. I grew up on ‘Shark Week’ and ‘This Old House.’ One of my fondest memories is watching ‘Croc Files’ with my dad and trying to make the man smile by doing the worst Steve Irwin impression ever attempted. On one occasion in ‘The Ten Deadliest Snakes in the World’ Irwin was holding a snake by it’s tail as he spoke to the camera and when asked if the snake was poisonous he leaned over and with earnest only a crazy man like Irwin could pull off said, “Oh yes! This is a very dangerous animal, but I am completely safe. I respect him and know how to handle him.” I turned to my father and said, “Crikey! He’s got me right by the jugular. They’re smart, because the jugular is the fastest way for him to get this deadly poison into my system and have me dead in fifteen sec…” And then I passed out.

Steve Irwin risked his life not just to entertain, but because he truly loved the animals he worked with. While filming a documentary Sunday morning off the Low Isles of Port Douglas, Irwin was killed by an apparent stingray barb that went through his chest. Irwin, 44, was killed just after 11am.

First reports indicate that he was killed instantly and was dead when his body was brought to shore. His wife, Terri, was hiking in Tasmania at the time and was given the news by police.

Watching the man on television you always made a joke about an alligator finally biting down, or a poisonous snake striking. Honestly, there was a slight aura of invincibility around him. The guy was too likable, and did too many crazy things for anyone to truly believe he’d be killed by one of these animals. We watched because of the dangerous situations, but kept on watching because of his passion and knowledge.

Loved by the public, even as we mocked him, Steve Irwin spent each day living his life to help someone or something else. He never got upset with people’s impressions of him, and even did a very funny FedEx commercial in 2000 where he’s bitten by a poisonous snake but can’t get the anti-venom because another courier was used. His love of life and nature will be remembered for years.

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