The real reason we may never know Steve Irwin’s last words

According to NBC News, conservationist Steve Irwin died on September 4, 2006 in a tragic encounter with a stingray. The Aussie, who rose to fame as the host of The Crocodile Hunter along with a handful of other nature-related docu-series, has made a career of getting up close and personal with different types of wildlife, whether it’s fighting a crocodile or posing next to a rattlesnake . Unfortunately, Irwin’s brave nature proved deadly when a stingray pierced his heart.

The news of Irwin’s death shocked the world as his loyal fans mourned his life and career. After Irwin’s untimely death, Australian filmmaker David Ireland spoke to Southern Cross Broadcasting Radio and shared that stingrays have barbs in their tails that are coated in toxic material and look like a bayonet. “If it hits any vital organs, it’s as deadly as a bayonet,” Ireland said (via The Guardian).

The camera actually caught Irwin’s death as the conservationist was originally scheduled to film his show Ocean’s Deadliest but ended up working on his daughter’s show Bindi The Jungle Girl. According to his biographer, Irwin had a rule that cameras should be filming all the time,” per Lad Bible. “Even if he gets eaten by a shark or a crocodile, the most important thing he wants is for it to be filmed. If he died, he’d be sad if nobody got it on tape.”

Although Irwin’s final moments were captured on film, the public will likely never see them.

There is only one copy of Steve Irwin’s death

Although cameras rolled as camera crews and paramedics attempted to save Steve Irwin’s life, the whereabouts of the surviving footage is not exactly known.

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After Steve’s death, the footage was turned over to the appropriate authorities. During an appearance on Larry King Live, John Stainton, Irwin’s friend and director, stated, “When this finally gets released [after being investigated], it will never see the light of day. je. Ever,” he said (via The Sun). “I actually saw it, but I don’t want to see it again.”

If you’ve seen a video purporting to show Irwin’s death, Irwin’s wife, Terri Irwin, claims the video is fake. “After Steve died, 100 million viewers watched the video of his death that was posted on YouTube,” she said. “This movie was a complete fabrication that took advantage of people’s sadness.” Terri continued that she never looked at the real footage, explaining, “I know how my husband died and I was relieved that the kids weren’t on the boat as usual.” During the same interview, Terri explained that the real footage is kept in a police vault.