Steve Irwin Dies

On 4 September 2006, Irwin was fatally pierced in the chest by a stingray spine while snorkeling at the Great Barrier Reef, at Batt Reef, which is located off the coast of Port Douglas in north Queensland.

Irwin was in the area filming his own documentary, Ocean's Deadliest, but weather had stalled filming. Irwin decided to take the opportunity to film some shallow water shots for a segment in the television program his daughter Bindi Irwin was hosting, when, according to his friend and colleague, John Stainton, he swam too close to one of the stingrays. "He came on top of the stingray and the stingray's barb went up and into his chest and put a hole into his heart," said Stainton, who was on board Irwin's boat the Croc One.

CAIRNS, Australia - Steve Irwin died doing what he loved best, getting too close to one of the dangerous animals he dedicated his life to protecting with an irrepressible, effervescent personality that propelled him to global fame as television’s “Crocodile Hunter.”

The 44-year-old Irwin’s heart was pierced by the serrated, poisonous spine of a stingray as he swam with the creature Monday while shooting a new TV show on the Great Barrier Reef, his manager and producer John Stainton said.

Irwin was videotaped pulling the barb from his chest moments before losing consciousness forever, a witness said Tuesday.