Steve Irwin, the Wildlife Master

September 6, 2006

Steve Irwin, the khaki-clad wildlife stalker who won global fame with his televised death-defying crocodile stunts and whose booming voice made “Crikey!” in a ripe Australian accent an international catchword, was killed by a stingray yesterday while filming a documentary at the Great Barrier Reef off Australia’s northeast coast. He was 44.

Witnesses said he apparently died of cardiac arrest after the stingray attack.

Mr. Irwin was on location in the area to film television segments, including material for “The Ocean’s Deadliest.” Witnesses on his boat, Croc One, and on a nearby diving vessel said that when he came close to a stingray, its barb pierced his chest and lodged in his heart.

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