Man, it was a drag to wake up to this news on Labor Day...
Television personality and environmentalist Steve Irwin has died from a stingray wound while filming off north Queensland.
Friends believe he may have died instantly when struck by a stingray as he filmed a sequence for his eight-year-old daughter Bindi's new TV series.
Irwin's friend of 20 years, Ferre De Deyne said Irwin had been struck by the stingray while filming. "The stingray just happened to be swimming around and out of the blue whacked his tail at him," he said.
Irwin had been filming a new documentary called Ocean's Deadliest with friend and manager John Stainton at Batt Reef, off Port Douglas about 11am.
"He came over the top of a stingray and the stingray's barb went up and went into his chest and put a hole into his heart," Mr Stainton said.
"It's likely that he possibly died instantly when the barb hit him, and I don't think that he ... felt any pain.
"He died doing what he loved best."
I used to watch Steve's show all the time with my son as he grew up. It was refreshing and fun to watch somebody be passionate about his job and love going to work every day doing something important.
I know what you're thinking. "But Ed, aren't you always the first one to callously ridicule people when they get killed or eaten by a wild animal?"
Why yes, I am, but this is different. If Joe Blow trudges carelessley through the bush and gets eaten by a crocodile, he deserves his fate and the ridicule heaped upon him by cynical people like me. Steve Irwin was a professional animal handler. He was knowledgable, careful and aware of potential danger, and, it's what he got paid to do. Steve Irwin getting killed by a sting ray is like a forest ranger getting killed fighting a forest fire. They both have a job to do and they both have to take calculated risks to do the job. Dying while performing one's job is not the same thing as an amateur stupidly and unnecessarily putting himself in danger and paying for it with his life.