I had one of those "wait a minute, that has to be a mistake" moments when I heard this report on the news this morning. Steve Irwin, a conservation biologist, administrator of Sydney's Australia Zoo (it's an amazing place, I tried to link to its page but it is mysteriously down today, maybe more than just a coincidence), and the (in)famous star of Animal Planet's The Crocodile Hunter, died today while filming a documentary in the Great Barrier Reef.
He was stung by a ray, and the barb penetrated his ribs and struck his heart. He was 44 years old.
He has stirred up controversy at times with his overflowing enthusiasm, but he is also extremely respected as an educator and proponent of conservation policies. This is a major shock.
He deserves respect, but I hope the media doesn't turn it into too much of a circus...I for one got sick and tired of sentimental "special reports" and redundant, sensationalistic shows about Katrina (not that this is on par with that tragedy), Diana, Clinton, etc etc. His family deserves time to grieve and gather themselves.