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Posted: September 26th. 2006 10:33:54 PM
Article on Steve Irwin
Age Group: Adult
A flamboyant tribute to "Crocodile Hunter" Steve Irwin was broadcast to millions of people around the world yesterday as thousands of mourners gathered at his zoo on Australia's Sunshine Coast.
Steve Irwin’s eight-year-old daughter reads her tribute
Flags flew at half-mast on Sydney Harbour Bridge as Hollywood stars remembered the khaki-clad television star in a service that was broadcast live around Australia and watched by legions of fans in Asia and the United States.
Irwin, 44, famous for his wide-eyed enthusiasm and exclamations of "Crikey!" while grappling with deadly reptiles, died two weeks ago when he was speared in the chest by a stingray's barb while snorkelling on the Great Barrier Reef, in Queensland.
"My daddy was my hero, " his eight-year-old daughter Bindi told an audience of 5, 000 friends, family and fans from the stage of the "Crocoseum" arena at Australia Zoo, north of Brisbane. "He was always there when I needed him.
"I don't want daddy's passion to ever end. I want to help endangered wildlife just like he did. I had the best daddy in the whole world and I will miss him every day."
Irwin's tearful American wife Terri held their two-year-old son Bob in her arms but did not speak. Irwin was buried in a private funeral held at the zoo last week.
A khaki-clad choir sang some of his favourite songs, including the Australian hit True Blue.
Taped tributes were played from the American singer Justin Timberlake, Larry King, the CNN talk show host, and the Hollywood stars Kevin Costner, Hugh Jackman and Cameron Diaz.
"America just flipped for him, " Diaz said. "Every kid was in love with the idea of being able to be him." The Oscar-winning actor Russell Crowe, a friend of Irwin, said in a taped message from New York: "We've all lost a friend. We've lost a champion."
The ceremony was a slick production shown on giant screens. The celebrity tributes were mixed with footage of Irwin fluffing his lines, falling out of boats and being bitten by animals.
At the end of the hour-long ceremony, zoo staff spelled out "Crikey!" in yellow flowers.
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13 September 2006: Irwin fans may be behind stingray deaths
6 September 2006: Irwin pulled out the barb as he died
5 September 2006: Australia in mourning after death of Steve Irwin, a 'bloody good bloke'
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