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Remembering Steve Irwin

Guest Author - Michelle Snow

Steve Irwin was a passionate man when it came to animals. Since rising to fame in his homeland of Australia in 1992, he has constantly championed for their conservation and sought to educate the world about all of it's creatures, big and small.

Steve Irwin and wife Terri  [photo: Discovery Channel]Hard to believe that it has already been almost 48 hours since news filtered in that Irwin had been killed by a stingray while filming an upcoming television documentary series for the Discovery Channel. And in that time, rememberences have flowed in from around the world. Rather than summarize the statements, I'm going to present you their own words.

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From Irwin's Australia Zoo, which he built up from his family's small reptile farm, comes the following statement:

"Australia Zoo and Wildlife Warriors Worldwide are today in mourning for a beloved friend and respected leader. The global response to the loss of Steve Irwin and the public outpouring of empathy we have received has been overwhelming, and a significant comfort to those of us who knew him. This is not just a loss for us, but for a planet full of people who loved him so well, and for the world’s precious wildlife that he laid his life on the line to protect.

Steve was a true original; he brought energy and passion to everything he did. Whether it was performing groundbreaking crocodile research on board his vessel Croc One, filming wildlife documentaries or simply celebrating his children’s birthdays, Steve didn’t do anything by half. A hard-core Wildlife Warrior and dedicated family man, Steve did for conservation and education what no one had ever done before. He brought wildlife conservation right into people’s living rooms and created a whole new generation of Wildlife Warriors.

The exceptional life Steve led is a testament to his respect for all creatures great and small, and his passion for wildlife was matched only by his passion for family life.

We here at Australia Zoo offer our heartfelt thanks on behalf of the Irwin family for your condolences and kind words. Many people have expressed a desire to donate to Wildlife Warriors Worldwide in memory of Steve. All donations will be greatly appreciated and applied directly to saving animals in the wild. Steve’s legacy will live on in the continuation of his life’s work."

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John Howard, Prime Minister of Australia, stopped a session of Parliment to issue the following statement: "He was a genuine, one-off, remarkable Australian individual and I am distressed at his death. It's a huge loss to Australia. He was a wonderful character. He was a passionate environmentalist. He brought pure entertainment and excitement to millions of people."

*****

The U.S. Embassy issued a statement saying they considered Irwin an unofficial Australian ambassador to the United States, explaining, "With his humor and irrepressible sense of adventure, he represented those things our citizens find most appealing about Australia and its wonderful way of life."

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From Tourism Australia's U.S. office came the following statement:

"For the past few years Steve Irwin has been the Aussie Americans knew best. He was your mate.

For those of us who were lucky enough to have worked with him promoting Australia, he was our mate.

His extraordinary enthusiasm and passion for life, his unequalled devotion to the animal world, his big hearted love for his country and his efforts to get more Americans Down Under made us proud - of him, and of what he so magnificently represented.

We thank America for taking him to your hearts. By doing that you gave him the power to make his dream of a better understanding of the natural world a reality.

You will miss him, and so will we.

Steve was a great Australian and a great man."

*****

Discovery Communications (parent company of the Discovery Channel) Founder and Chairman, John Hendricks said, "Steve was a larger than life force. He brought joy and learning about the natural world to millions and millions of people across the globe. He was a true friend to all of us at Discovery Communications. We extend our thoughts and prayers to Terri, Bindi and Bob Irwin as well as to the incredible staff and many friends Steve leaves behind."

He was joined in his sentiments by Discovery Networks, U.S. President Billy Campbell who said, "The sense of loss we feel about Steve is shared by people around the world, evident by the hundreds of heartfelt condolences that have already flooded into Steve's fan site on Animalplanet.com."

*****

Several Aussie actors have issued statements to the public.

Russell Crowe, who a family friend, said he was "...unable to think about anything else after hearing of Irwin's death...He was a great friend of mine. I loved him and I'll be there for his family."

Hugh Jackman's statement said he was in shock, adding, "Only two days ago my family finally fulfilled a promise to Steve and made it out to his zoo. His passion and love of life, family and nature was boundless. He was a colossus and will be sorely missed. My condolences and thoughts are with his family."

*****

Meanwhile, at Irwin's Australia Zoo, people have been arriving in droves to offer condolences. Some have signed pairs of khaki shirts at the entrance, while others have left flowers and signs. Not even the slight rain on Tuesday could stop the masses from coming out to pay their respects to one of Australia's most popular figures.

Here in the U.S., fans worldwide have flooded the "In Memorium" message board set up by the Discovery Channel. You can read all the postings about Steve Irwin here.

*****

How about you? How do you feel about Irwin's passing? Come join us in the message forums and talk about it.

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The family of Irwin requests that any donations in his name be made to Wildlife Warriors Worldwide LTD, a charity that Irwin was very involved with.

For more information on Steve Irwin, please visit the Australian Zoo website or the Discovery Channel website.

More on the passing of Steve Irwin on BellaOnline.com:

'Crocodile Hunter' Steve Irwin Killed While Filming

Friends and Family of Steve Irwin Respond to His Accidental Death

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Content copyright © 2014 by Michelle Snow. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Michelle Snow. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Trina Boice for details.

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