There's no shock, I'm sure, that he died while filming a show about dangerous creatures, and that he died due to one of the creatures he was filming. I bet none of you predicted it would've been a stingray, though, am I right?
I've spent a few minutes, half-conscious (I just woke up), thinking about it, and I have to say: sucka!
The guy courted death on a regular basis. It was one thing when he did the croc thing - that was his specialty, and he had more experience with it than anyone else. Taking a risk when you know the dangers and have experience and knowledge dealing with them is one thing, and frankly, a lot of people do it. Hell, the window washers in the city stand on window ledges 10 stories above the concrete streets with nothing but a small harness (if even that) holding them on, but they know the risks and how to counter them and how to make it work. Same thing with Mr. Irwin and the crocs.
What bothered me about him in more recent years, though, was that it seemed to be less and less about the animals and more and more about him. I could be wrong; that was my perception. But he's gotten in trouble multiple times in recent years for violating the rules, spoken and unspoken, of working with rare and exotic animals. He held his infant son in one arm while feeding crocs. He was also accused of getting too close to some animals in Antarctica while filming a documentary. And in general it just seemed like the more fame he got, the more he did what he needed to keep that fame. I know that every star does that, but the difference was that he put his life (and his son's life!) on the line for that fame - and now his family is paying the price. I mean, what the hell did he know about handling stingrays? (Probably a lot, I'm sure someone will point out - but obviously not enough, I'd point out in return.)
I'm not saying he was a bad person, but I just wonder if maybe he didn't lose his way somewhere. Was it really about the animals, at the end, or were they just the means to his end - both desired (fame) and final? Does it matter? I dunno. I guess no one will ever know, now. In the end, though, I don't feel sorry for him at all. I feel sorry for his family, for their loss, for the fact that his kids are going to grow up without a father. That's the real tragedy.
(I don't feel like grabbing links, but google or yahoo news them, you'll find dozens. Thanks to everyone on my f-list who pointed it out. And damn, am I tired. If anything above was incoherent, it's because I'm not quite awake yet.)