People around the world paid tribute to “Crocodile Hunter” Steve Irwin on Sunday, the 10th anniversary of the Australian conservationist and television personality’s tragic death.
Irwin died on Sept. 4, 2006, after being stabbed in the heart by a giant stingray while filming on the Great Barrier Reef in Queensland. The 44-year-old left behind a wife, Terri, and two children.
“You’ll be my hero for my entire existence,” Irwin’s daughter, Bindi, now 18, tweeted. “I love you more than words can describe.”
You’ll be my hero for my entire existence. I love you more than words can describe. pic.twitter.com/R9OUzGWUwO
— Bindi Irwin (@BindiIrwin) September 3, 2016
Irwin’s 12-year-old son, Robert, told the Brisbane Times that he hopes to carry on his father’s legacy as a wildlife photographer.
Irwin’s manager, John Stainton, who was with him when he died, told an Australian radio station that Irwin’s “larger than life” personality was “never a put-on.”
“He burnt a hole in the fabric of our lives as he jumped through the television and grabbed you by the scruff of the neck,” Stainton said. “He had that magnetism, and there was nothing like him before.”
Actor Russell Crowe also took to Twitter to memorialize his late friend on Sunday, which also marked Father’s Day in Australia.
10 years ago today..
Steve Irwin passed away. Terri, Bindi and Robert are a testament to the love you embodied mate, happy Father’s Day
— Russell Crowe (@russellcrowe) September 4, 2016
“Terri, Bindi and Robert are a testament to the love you embodied mate,” Crowe tweeted. “Happy Father’s Day.”
Last week, Irwin’s family shared a heartfelt letter the “Crocodile Hunter” penned to his parents 12 years before his death.
“Probably one of the most unfortunate things in a ‘Bloke’s Life’ is that it takes over 30 years to realise how essential you have been to build my character, my ethics and, most importantly, my HAPPINESS,” the note, in part, reads. “At 32, I am finally starting to figure it out. In good times and in bad, you were there. Your strength and endurance to raise me will not go unrewarded.”
The letter, which was recently discovered by Irwin’s father, Bob, will be included in the elder Irwin’s upcoming memoir, “The Last Crocodile Hunter: A Father and Son Legacy.”
According to Bob, though, his correspondence with Steve has continued since his death.
“It’s something I do privately. I get messages from Steve, and I don’t mind admitting I talk to him,” Bob told the newspaper in 2011. “If people think I’m crazy, that’s fine. I talk to the animals, too.”
“It’s something I’ll never completely get over,” Bob added. “I don’t think you do. But what you do is learn to live with it. I know Steve’s out there, and he helps me do what I’ve got to do.”