It's been nearly 12 years since outdoor enthusiast and television presenter Steve "The Crocodile Hunter" Irwin was killed by a stingray barb to the heart off the Great Barrier Reef of Australia during filming of his show, and recently his widow, Terri Irwin made some touching comments about her husband and her sense of loss in the wake of his passing.
Terri Irwin was on Australian television being interviewed about her anti-culling activism when the subject turned to her husband, and she admitted that she is sometimes blinded with feelings of sadness when she thinks of the happiness the couple shared along with their two children. She had tears in her eyes when she spoke of the last time she saw her husband alive, at an airstrip where he had come to say goodbye as she and her children were departing home to Tasmania. She added that while the grief is not as devastating as it was when she first learned from her husband's death from his producer, it is still with her.
Interestingly, she revealed that Steve Irwin always felt that he would die young, which he did at age 44 on September 4th, 2006. The death made international headlines, and there was an outpouring of grief for the loss, support for the family and admiration for the Steve Irwin's legacy.
It became apparent that Steve Irwin was more widely known than generally realized, and Terri Irwin said that her husband, in particular, would have been surprised by how famous he actually was. Because Steve Irwin became a television personality out of love for wildlife and a desire to educate the public on conservation, he rarely thought of himself in terms of his own celebrity, his widow said.
While he was still alive, Steve Irwin was frequently recognized on the street, but his widow said that the fame never went to his head and that he never became pretentious or name-dropped even though he was mingling with A-list celebrities as his wildlife show became increasingly popular. Her husband's humility, she believes, was why he was so respected around the planet.
Today Terri Irwin is 53, and she still remembers vividly the first moments after she got the news that her husband had died; she had to call the manager of the zoo where he worked to give the sad news herself. The hardest part, however, was telling her two children that their father was gone. Also present was a strong sense of responsibility to carry on the conservation awareness work that her husband was famous for, and she has done this through her own campaigning to stop the culling of wild animals, which she feels is frequently unnecessary and often cruel.
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The last two weeks have been beyond my wildest dreams. We unveiled Dad's Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, caught up with The Tonight Show, celebrated our Steve Irwin Gala Dinner, opened the John Oliver Koala Chlamydia Ward at our Wildlife Hospital and last night I hugged my Dancing with the Stars family in the ballroom. I'd say our time in the USA was a glorious success and beautiful chapter in our lives.
Despite all the pain from the tragedy, Terri Irwin still feels joy when she thinks of the happiness that the couple shared. She added that she is proud that the couple's two children, Bindi and Robert, have grown up to follow in their father's footsteps by sharing his love of wildlife and the outdoors.