Steve Irwin Dies

The Crocodile Hunter died, and not by a croc.  By a stingray barb:

BRISBANE, Australia (AP) — Steve Irwin, the Australian television personality and environmentalist known as the “Crocodile Hunter,” was killed Monday by a stingray during a diving expedition, Australian media said. He was 44.

Irwin was filming an underwater documentary on the Great Barrier Reef in northeastern Queensland state when the accident occurred, Sydney’s The Daily Telegraph newspaper reported on its Web site.

The Australian Broadcasting Corp. said Irwin was diving near Low Isles near the resort town of Port Douglas, about 1,260 miles north of Brisbane.

A helicopter carrying paramedics flew to the island, but he died from a stingray barb to the heart, ABC reported on its Web site.

Pericardial tamponade is the diagnosis that jumps to mind, though there are several others. 

Update: Dr. Rangel has the analysis covered here. (via Kevin, MD)


  1. Goatwhacker says:

    (from Reuters)

    Fry said stingray venom was a defensive weapon similar to that in stonefish but was not lethal. Serrated barbs on the stingray’s tail would have delivered the fatal injury, he said.”It’s not the going in, it’s the coming out,” Fry said.

    “They have these deep serrations which tear and render the flesh as it comes out,” he said.

    I would guess the actual mechanism of injury would depend on where exactly he was pierced. Anyway it’s too bad, I wasn’t a big fan but he seemed like a decent guy.

  2. Actually, I was rather saddened by this story, mainly because of his wife and kids. He truly seemed to love living each day (I remember when there was all the problems with his taking his infant son too close to the crocs, but it seemed natural to him)

    Spending the first 15 years of my adulthood hating what I did every minute of the day before changing careers to nursing, I now know what it feels to truly love what you do.

    I guess if you are going to go, doing what you love while doing it must be a great feeling

  3. You have to wonder about the effect of stingray venom on the myocardium.

  4. Says here he pulled the barb out immediately after he was hit. Probably not a good idea:

  5. Jeff Panozzo says:

    Interesting that his professional knowledge was overcome by the inherent urge to “get the bullet out”- or in this case “get the barb out.” I though he was a fantastic bloke though.

  6. Sarah Saunders says:

    Every Saturday I would sit down in front of the Tv and watch the Crocodile Hunter. About a week ago when I was watching ET I found out that he had died. I was about to cry. I know how it feels to loose a loved one even though I am thirteen. I am very sorry to here about the tragic event.