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Farewell Steve

A memorial service to celebrate the life of 'Croc Hunter' Steve Irwin was held, September 20, at the Crocoseum, where he once performed his hug-the-crocodile displays at the Australia Zoo in Beerwah, Queensland, Australia.

Irwin was killed by a giant sting ray while he was deep-sea diving near the Great Barrier Reef.

Attended by nearly 5,000 tearful Irwin fans and watched by close to 300 million people around the world, the service was a remarkable display of love for a man who won hearts from Toowoomba to Tuticorin with his particular brand of showmanship that generated affection for the fiercest of animals.

It was a truly Australian event, high on colour, with a touch of the Outback, that bade Irwin farewell through tears, laughter and song.

Probably not an eye in the audience was dry when Irwin's eight-year-old daughter Bindi, clad in her dad's customary khaki, spoke bravely, in front of a giant poster of her father, about her hero.

'I have the best Daddy in the whole world and I will miss him every day. When I see a crocodile I will always think of him and I know that Daddy made this zoo so everyone could come and learn to love all the animals... I don't want Daddy's passion to ever end -- I want to help endangered wildlife just like he did.'

All 5,000 people at the Beerwah amphitheatre rose to applaud little Bindi when her speech ended.

Photographs: Getty Images

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