Sep 4, 1:39 AM (ET)
"BRISBANE, Australia (AP) - Steve Irwin, the hugely popular Australian television personality and environmentalist known as the "Crocodile Hunter," was killed Monday by a stingray during a diving expedition, Australian media said. He was 44.
Irwin was filming an underwater documentary on the Great Barrier Reef in northeastern Queensland state when the accident occurred, Sydney's The Daily Telegraph newspaper reported on its Web site.
The Australian Broadcasting Corp. said Irwin was diving near Low Isles Reef near the resort town of Port Douglas, about 1,260 miles north of the state capital of Brisbane.
Queensland ambulance service spokesman Bob Hamil confirmed that a diver had been killed by a stingray off Lowe Isles Reef but refused to say who the victim was until relatives had been notified.
A rescue helicopter was sent from the nearby city of Cairns, and paramedics from it confirmed the diver's death.
"The probable cause of death is stingray strike to the chest," Hamil said.
Staff at Australia Zoo, Irwin's zoo in southern Queensland, said they had heard the reports but could not comment.
Irwin is famous for his enthusiasm for wildlife and his catchcry "Crikey!" in his television program "Crocodile Hunter," which was first broadcast in Australia in 1992 and has aired around the world on the Discovery channel.
He rode his image into a feature film, and developed the Australia Zoo as a tourist attraction.
He is survived by his American wife Terri, from Oregon, and their daughter Bindi Sue, 8, and son Bob, who will turn 3 in December."
Steve Irwin was one of my all time favorite celebrities, easily making a top ten list, and will be greatly missed. Whether or not you thought the man was crazy his message on wildlife conservation will hopefully live on in his absence.