As the 10th anniversary of Steve Irwin’s death approaches, a sweet letter penned by the Crocodile Hunter to his parents was revealed this week in a memoir published by dad Bob Irwin.
When Steve was 32, some 12 years before that fateful day when a stingray took the life of the beloved wildlife expert, he wrote a heartfelt note that expressed his gratitude for all that Bob and mom Lyn did for him, according to news.com.au.
Bob reportedly found the letter earlier this year after it fell out of a book.
In the poignant handwritten note, published in the memoir The Last Crocodile Hunter: A Father and Son Legacy, Irwin expressed his conviction that everything that was good in him was instilled by the love and devotion given to him by his mom and dad.
— Allen & Unwin (@AllenAndUnwin) September 1, 2016
“Probably one of the most unfortunate things in a ‘Bloke’s Life’ is that it takes over 30 years to realize how essential you have been to build my character, my ethics and, most importantly, my HAPPINESS.”
The letter was tucked into an envelope on which Steve wrote that he wanted his parents to “be happy to know that your strength and wisdom have been passed on.”
Irwin seemed to be in a very good place in his life at the time and felt compelled to tell his the parents that he considered them to be his “best friends.”
“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. My love for you is my strength! For the rest of my life, I will reflect on the unbelievably GREAT times we’ve shared and will continue to share. You’re my best friends!”
The beloved naturalist died on Sept. 4, 2006, after being pierced in the chest by a stingray’s barb, while filming an underwater documentary called Ocean’s Deadliest on the Great Barrier Reef.
Survived by wife Terri and kids Bindi and Robert, Steve Irwin’s legacy continues as his family works tirelessly to share his love for wildlife conservation.
— AustralianGeographic (@ausgeo) September 2, 2016
According to the Huffington Post, Bindi Irwin, in particular, with her worldwide popularity after wowing fans and winning Dancing With the Stars with her partner Derek Hough, has kept the work of her father at the Australia Zoo in the public’s eye.
Bindi, who was only 8 when her dad died, told Oprah: Where They Are Now that it is her life’s mission to keep her father’s dream alive and well.
“We want to make sure that his message never dies. Throughout my life, I’ll continue down that journey of just trying to empower others and following my heart and my dreams of carrying on in my dad’s footsteps and having fun each and every day.”
Robert Irwin, the eight-year-old son of ‘Crocodile Hunter’ Steve Irwin, feeds fresh water crocodiles, in Australia. pic.twitter.com/Q7PzFeLB1y
— Mike (@MikeTaylor2011) April 24, 2015
As for Bindi’s brother, Bob, who was just a toddler when his dad died, he seems to have the same nerves of steel that his Steve Irwin had. By the time he was 10 in 2014, he was already facing off with huge crocodiles and loving every minute of it, as reported by the Daily Mail.
It’s hard to believe it’s been 10 years since the world lost Steve Irwin and many continue to mourn his death.
[Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images]