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Crocodile Hunter Killed by Unlikely Animal

Steve Irwin, known around the world as the "Crocodile Hunter," was killed on September 4, 2006, while filming wildlife along the Great Barrier Reef. His death serves as a lesson on both the consequences of our actions and the tenuous reality of human life.

Irwin was best known for the wildly popular, wildly dangerous antics on "Crocodile Hunter," his long-running television program. During the 14 years that the documentary was on the air, Irwin survived countless snake bites, being chased up a tree by a deadly komodo dragon, being spat in the face by a red spitting cobra, and being pulled into the water by a massive crocodile. At the time of his death, he was in the Great Barrier Reef to film a documentary on the ocean's deadliest creatures.

Ironically, it was one of the ocean's least harmful creatures that delivered Irwin's fatal blow. Due to poor weather, his team had stopped filming for the "Ocean's Deadliest" series, and so Irwin decided to do some work for a children's show that was to be hosted by his 8-year-old daughter, Bindi.

While swimming with his cameraman, he came across a 5-foot-wide stingray and began to follow along behind it. Stingrays are often called the "pussycats of the sea" because of their docile nature. In fact, they can be hand-fed by tourists on excursions from cruise-liners. Unfortunately, Irwin reportedly got a little too close to the animal, which thrust its poisonous, barbed tail upward in a defensive reflex. The 10-inch, serrated barb went into Irwin's chest and pierced his heart.

He was only the 17th person in the world known to have been killed by a stingray. If the blow had struck almost anywhere else, he would have survived easily. He was rushed to the nearest island and picked up by a medical helicopter, but he passed away long before reaching the hospital.

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