CAIRNS, Australia - Steve Irwin, the environmentalist and television personality better known as "the Crocodile Hunter", died on Monday from an attack by a stingray off the Great Barrier Reef. Irwin, 44, gained worldwide fame for his television series featuring death-defying encounters with dangerous animals, none of whom caused his untimely demise. Fans all over the globe were devastated by the complete lack of irony in his death.
The response of Paul Covert, a twenty-two year-old clerk at a 7-Eleven, is typical of many. When he first saw the report on CNN, his first reaction was surprise. He said, "When they said Irwin died, I thought for sure itwas an alligator that got him. Then when they said it was a stingray, I was like 'what?'"
Covert continued to watch the news story, holding out hope that Steve Irwin had been trying to pick up the ray when it killed him. Unfortunately, that turned out not to be the case. Instead, Irwin had been swimming over the stingray, unaware of its existence until it stabbed him in the chest.
Wandering the streets, one could find many expressing disbelief and shock at Irwin's death. Vicky Eiserloh, a fifteen year-old high school student, said, "I've seen Irwin poking cobras with sticks, crawling through pits of tarantulas, splashing water on lunging alligators, and waving his hand in the mouths of lions. Why couldn't one of them have gotten him?"
Martha Colwell, a forty-two year-old housewife and avid watcher of Crocodile Hunter, is unsure if she will ever watch the show again. She said, "I always watched Crocodile Hunter, wondering if this episode was the one where something got him. Every time an animal lunged at him, my heart would jump, thinking 'This is it.' And he always got away. In a way, he got away for good. I'm disappointed. Now I'll never see Steve Irwin get mauled."
Despite his disappointment, Covert felt some gratitude over Irwin's death. He said, "I mean, it's still kind of good because some animal got him. I guess a stingray is better than nothing. At least he didn't get hit by a car. That would've been totally out of nowhere."