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Irwin collapsed at Batt Reef, Low Isle, near the resort town of Port Douglas in Queensland, Australia at approximately 11 a.m. local time, according to a statement issued by the Queensland Police Service. Crew members aboard Irwin's boat, Croc One, called emergency services and performed CPR on Irwin as they rushed him by boat to the nearest town. An emergency helicopter was dispatched as soon as Irwin's crew called for medical treatment, but Irwin was pronounced dead at the scene.
Irwin owned and operated the Australia Zoo in Queensland, which he expanded and renamed after taking over the business from his parents, naturalists Lyn and Bob Irwin. He was famous worldwide for his enthusiastic trademark cry of "Crikey!" and his passion for wildlife, which were showcased in feature films and a hit television series, The Crocodile Hunter, that aired internationally on the Discovery Channel.
Stingrays have wide flat bodies that look almost like wings as they swim gracefully through the water. They have spiny, serrated tails that contain venom and can inflict painful injuries, but stingrays are usually not aggressive and the wounds they inflict are rarely fatal to humans. It is believed that Irwin either suffered a form of cardiac arrest as a result of the puncture wound to his chest, or that the bayonet-like barb of the stingray actually pierced his heart. The exact details will not be known until an autopsy is performed.
Irwin is survived by his wife and co-star, Terri, an American from Eugene, Oregon, their daughter Bindi Sue, who is 8 years old, and their 2-year-old son Bob.
Read the Profile of Steve Irwin
Selected media coverage:
Stingray Kills Steve Irwin -- Sydney Daily Telegraph
'Crocodile Hunter' Steve Irwin dies -- Associated Press and MSNBC
Anatomy of a Deadly Attack -- Sydney Daily Telegraph
Death as Perplexing as Fame -- News.com.au
Irwin's last minutes of struggle caught on tape -- USA Today
Elsewhere on About:
Interview with Steve and Terri Irwin -- About Hollywood Movies
Steve and Terri Irwin Marriage Profile -- About Marriage