Newly released Steve Irwin letter reveals touching tribute to parents on tenth anniversary of his death
A newly released letter from Steve Irwin has revealed his expression of love and devotion to his parents for making him the man he grew into.
The Australian naturalist wrote the letter when he was aged 32 but it has only recently been discovered.
Irwin's enthusiastic interactions with wildlife on television show The Crocodile Hunter propelled him to fame.
The father-of-two’s was stabbed in the heart by a stingray's tail in as tragic accident on the Great Barrier Reef in 2006.
Irwin and his crew were eight days into the shoot at the time, which saw them charter a small inflatable boat through chest-deep water when they came across a “massive, eight-foot-wide stingray”.
The touching letter reveals that it took Irwin "over 30 years" to realise that his parents, Bob and Lyn Irwin, were his "best friends".
It is published in a new memoir by Irwin's father, Bob Irwin, on the tenth anniversary of his death. Irwin's parents were also naturalists, bringing their children up at their own reptile park on the Sunshine Coast.
Bob Irwin told Australian media he only found the letter this year, when it fell out of a book.
"Probably one of the most unfortunate things in a 'Bloke's Life' is that it takes over 30 years to realise how essential you have been to build my character, my ethics and, most importantly, my HAPPINESS," Irwin wrote to his parents, 12 years before his death.
"At 32, I am finally starting to figure it out. In good times and in bad, you were there. Your strength and endurance to raise me will not go unrewarded. My love for you is my strength!'
"For the rest of my life I will reflect on the unbelievably GREAT times we've shared and will continue to share. You're my best friends!"