Bob Irwin, the father of late conservation icon Steve Irwin, has opened up on their final meeting and his son's sad passing – revealing the star seemed to indicate his time was coming to an end, as he struggled with mounting pain and the pressures of fame and success.
Writing in his new book The Last Crocodile Hunter: A Father and Son Legacy, Bob recalls knowing something was about to happen when he last saw his son.
Recalling camping with Steve as he ‘battled with constant pain’ from a broken neck and other injuries, Bob says his son was at a crossroads – even telling him, ‘I think I’ve nearly reached my used-by date.’
Revealing that his son’s busy schedule hadn’t allowed him to recover from the injuries he’d been sustaining, Bob writes that Steve told him, ‘I want to cut back on the filming, on all of it. I want to spend more time getting Bindi into it and being home.’
Indeed, Steve had told him of ‘an almost endless series of television projects in the months ahead’ - and it’s clear that Bob wishes his son had not been caught up in the high-pressure demands of TV stardom, further writing, ‘he was physically drained already by the end of this trip, having worked at full capacity over a long time, without a break.'
Recalling their final goodbye, Bob says Steve appeared unusually emotional, and he suspects his son was regretting leaving behind his moment of respite, camping in the bush with mates, for more endless filming.
‘You never expect that’s the last time you’re ever going to see your son, but I certainly had a feeling he sensed something was about to happen,' writes Bob.
Bob’s book, The Last Crocodile Hunter: A Father and Son Legacy (Allen and Unwin) is available now.