Irwin lived a full and exciting life, touched millions of people, and made more money than any of us will ever see.
All that being said, his death also has its amusing side.
I mean anyone who watched the Crocodile Hunter show felt at one point or another that Irwin was a little too blase around animals that could kill him with a single bite or sting. He smiled and mugged at the camera as he held cobras and crocodiles in his hands. "Crickey!" he would exclaim whenever something unexpected happened, the sort of unexpected things that would cause anybody else to scream a word with a little more...oomph to it. He had a likability and accessibility, sure, but his persona was also deeply goofy and casual around things that are, in fact, quite dangerous.
And he was killed by a stingray.
Stingrays are not natural enemies of humans. They are generally docile and not aggressive. Their stingers are defensive in nature, and usually used reflexively. Mostly they cause pain. Irwin's being stung in the chest wasn't some act of uberaggression by a predator, it was purely an accident, something just as surprising to the stingray as it was to Irwin.
He died because he wasn't careful enough around an animal that it is generally not necessary to be careful around. 99.9% of the time he would have gotten stung in the foot or shoulder and been in enormous pain, but the other divers would have pulled him to the surface and he would have been fine in a week.
Life is full of ironies.
And I can't help thinking macabre thoughts as I mull this news over in my mind. Did he bubble out a final "Crickey" as the barb pierced his chest? Does this set up a Stingray Vs. Crocodile ultimate grudge match? Did an angry croc pay the stingray off? Did the hunter finally become...the hunted?
The death of Steve Irwin the man is as tragic as any good man's death is. The death of the Crocodile Hunter character is kind of funny. That's the nature of celebrity.
P.S. for some reason EVERY news story on this feels compelled to mention that Steve Irwin's wife was American born. Why is this relevant in any way? Why would it matter if she were born in Swaziland? I mean if she were a crocodile instead of a human female, that would be odd. But how is an Aussie/American marriage notable? She was his wife. She helped him a lot in his various media projects and bore him 2 children (one of which they unconscionably named Bindi Sue.) Those are relevant facts. Her nationality. Not so much.