November 19, 2021
Australia’s beloved Conservationist, Steve Irwin, died a tragic death doing what he was passionate about, capturing the life of animals. Strangely, in his last days, his friend said he made a “finale speech.”
Steve Irwin’s best friend and Producer, John Stainton, relived the harrowing events that took place in the last few weeks of his and Irwin’s biggest adventure on the recent episode of the podcast, “I’ve Got News For You.”
Stainton expressed that speaking about the incident was difficult for him. However, he continued to reveal he and Steve came up with an idea to shoot a documentary on “Ocean’s Deadliest,” involving every dangerous species living underwater.
(L-R) Bindi Irwin, Terri Irwin, and Robert Irwin attend the Steve Irwin Gala Dinner at the SLS Hotel at Beverly Hills on May 13, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (M) Terri Irwin, wife of Australian environmentalist Steve Irwin holds her daughter Bindi and son Bob at Australia Zoo September 20, 2006 in Beerwah, Australia. (L) Steve Irwin during Nickelodeon's 15th Annual Kids Choice Awards - Press Room at Barker Hanger in Santa Monica, California | Photo: Getty Images
RELIVING THE ORDEAL
Straight off the bat, Stainton admitted that he felt uncomfortable about the plan. “Three weeks before, I told him we should call it off and stop it because I didn’t want to go ahead with it,” he said.
However, Stainton could not pull out of the adventure at the last minute. Their team had already made a big commitment and paid a lot of money for the project.
Once again, Stainton stressed how weary he was from the beginning of the year about the situation saying, “One day, I had a premonition that it would be the last of my life this year.”
Steve Irwin during "Master And Commander: The Far Side Of The World" - Los Angeles Premiere at The Academy Of Motion Picture Arts And Sciences in Beverly Hills, California | Photo: Getty Images
He divulged that he even had a will drawn up. Stainton feared for his life, noting he had never had a will before but ensured he would have one because he believed something was wrong with him.
Stainton even got tests done and went for CAT scans, adding he strongly felt that something would go wrong. Additionally, he revealed that Irwin had a neck problem before the shoot, experiencing tremendous pain.
Stainton shared that weirdly, the zookeeper made a speech thanking the team for being who they are and for helping him. He described it as a “finale speech.”
The director witnessed the wildlife expert’s tragic death as every horrific second of his last moments on earth was captured on camera.
Irwin lost his life in a freak accident on September 4, 2006, at age 44, during a trip to Queensland’s Batt Reef to film the documentary.
He and his pal and Cameraman Justin Lyons were buying time during a rain delay when they discovered an eight-foot-wide stingray. In an interview on Australia’s morning show, “Studio 10” in 2014, Lyons revealed he and Irwin were very close.
He shared how excited the television personality was about filming the documentary, saying it was what he loved. Eight days before the shoot, they searched for tiger sharks, but the weather was terrible.
Seeing Irwin could not sit up and not do anything, he suggested they find something to do. Consequently, they jumped on an inflatable boat and went on a mission.
It was not long before they found a stingray that would be a perfect shoot for their next project in the pipeline. Things were going well until they decided to do one last shoot, which ended up being fatal.
The stingray was between them, and Irwin swam toward the camera while Lyons filmed the ray swimming away. Then things started going left. The witness explained:
“All of a sudden, it propped on its front and started stabbing wildly with its tail, hundreds of strikes in a few seconds. It probably thought Steve’s shadow was a tiger shark, who feeds on them regularly, so it started attacking him.”
Even under those circumstances, Lyons focused on his work and revealed that he and Irwin had a rule that if he were ever hurt or injured, they would continue filming no matter what.
Lyons shared his dear friend was standing in a pool of blood when he noticed that something was wrong. As soon as he realized this, his priority was to get him out of the water.
Unfortunately, the sharp barb had gone through Irwin’s chest, and all they could tell was that there was a two-inch injury right over his heart. Lyons said even if they had managed to get him to an emergency ward immediately, they probably would have failed to save him because the damage was severe.
After getting him on the boat, one crew member kept his hand over Irwin’s wound while Lyons reminded him to think of his children. He said Irwin calmly looked up at him and said his last words:
News of his passing shocked the world, which came to adore him as the animal lover during his 10-year stint as a host on the popular TV show “The Crocodile Hunter” and its spinoffs.
FACTS ABOUT HIM & ACHIEVEMENTS
Irwin grew up in a wildlife park owned by his parents. He was born on February 22, 1962, in Melbourne, Australia. While he did not possess a scientific degree, he grew up studying and caring for animals at his family’s wildlife park, now known as the Australia Zoo.
He is survived by his beloved wife, American-born Terri Irwin, and their kids, Bindi and Robert. The couple married in 1992 and remained together until his death. Terri was in Australia on vacation in 1991 when they met.
The duo spent their honeymoon filming crocodiles, and the footage became part of their 1992 Australian TV show “The Crocodile Hunter.” Years later, the series was picked up by the American cable network Animal Planet. When it gained recognition, it aired in more than 200 countries.
Fifteen years after his passing, Irwin’s children continue to honor him by celebrating Steve Irwin Day. Last week, the siblings took to Instagram and posted touching tributes to their dad to mark the international event.
Robert, 17, wrote that his dad was in his thoughts a lot and that he thought about his impact on the planet, inspiring the young generation. He wrote the caption alongside a throwback snapshot of himself, his dad, and his sister.
As for 23-year-old Bindi, she noted her father’s legacy would live forever and loved him dearly, alongside a smiling shot of her and Irwin by the ocean.
FACTS ABOUT BINDI & ROBERT
The brother and sister followed in their dad’s footsteps and became dedicated conservationists and zookeepers. Bindi was born on July 24, 1998, and inherited love for wildlife from her parents. Since her dad’s death, she has remained committed to protecting all animals and nature.
She first made her television debut on her father’s former show “The Crocodile Hunter,” which ran from 1994 to 2004. She was then offered a show in 2007 titled “Bindi the Jungle Girl.”
Her younger brother Robert was born on December 1, 2003, and has a knack for wildlife photography. Like his older sister, he also made his mark on TV.
In 2014, he began co-hosting “Wild But True” and later started making regular appearances with different animals on “The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon.”
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